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Mini golf tournament raises money for Children in Need

May 15, 2010|By MARIE GILBERT
  • Jackie McDonnell sends a golf ball flying Saturday at Family Recreation Park. Akira Berry and Nancy Gilleo played with McDonnell to benefit Children in Need. They each volunteer for the nonprofit organization, which assists needy children with clothing and school supplies.
Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Trapped in closets all over Washington County are ghosts from hundreds of summers, first days of school and winter snowball battles.

Some are stuffed in boxes, others are hanging out of sight -- but they're there in the form of outgrown shirts, coats and pants, worn by children for a year or two and then retired from active duty.

Ann Martin wants to give them life again.

As executive director of Children In Need Inc., she knows of several thousand children who could put those clothes to good use.

"It could mean the difference between a child sitting in a classroom, confident and learning, or struggling because of low self-esteem," she said.

Since 1998, Children In Need, a nonprofit organization, has provided local youths with the necessities needed to attend school. That includes gently used clothing, as well as personal care items and educational supplies.

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Many items come in the form of donations, she said.

But money is needed to purchase those items that can't be donated, including underwear and socks, school supplies and toiletries such as shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrushes.

In an effort to raise funds as well as community awareness, Children In Need sponsored a miniature golf tournament on Saturday at Family Recreation Park.

This is the second year the event has been held, volunteer Derek Friel said.

Friel helped organize the fundraiser last year as part of a class project at Hagerstown Community College.

"It was wonderful to know there was an organization in this town doing what they do for children," he said.

Friel said the experience was so rewarding, he decided to help organize the event again this year.

"This is my baby," he said. "I graduate from HCC this summer, so I see myself being involved with Children In Need for some time."

Last year's tournament raised about $1,300, Friel said.

Martin said the money from this year's event will be put to good use.

"The local need keeps growing," she said. "In 2004, we had 650 visitors who came to our office for assistance. In 2009, that number had risen to 8,228. That's phenomenal."

According to Martin, more than 9,000 Washington County children are eligible for clothing and supplies offered by Children In Need. About 2,100 children currently participate.

Martin said the nonprofit organization works closely with Washington County Public Schools' Food and Nutrition Services and Student Services to determine who needs assistance.

People who were unable to attend Saturday's miniature golf tournament still can make a donation, Martin said.

For more information about Children In Need, go to http://www.childreninneedwashingtoncounty.org.

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