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It’s time again for the annual Poverello Bowl-A-Thon! In its 21st year, this is Poverello’s biggest fund-raiser – every cent raised goes to back to the non-profit and helps provide meals for 2,500 active clients a month.

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Be a part of Poverello’s 21th Annual Bowl-A-Thon

poverello-bowl-a-thon-2It’s time again for the annual Poverello Bowl-A-Thon! In its 21st year, this is Poverello’s biggest fund-raiser – every cent raised goes to back to the non-profit and helps provide meals for 2,500 active clients a month.

Raising funds is extremely important for Poverello and the thousands of people that they serve. The non-profit was started 24 years ago by Father Bill Collins. He was working as a chaplain at Imperial Point Hospital and heard of a disease many patients had that there wasn’t a treatment for. Father Collins ministered to the patients and learned that they were having problems affording food, shelter, and other basics. He took his own retirement money and handed out food to those in need from the back of his car. When he ran out of money, he got a job teaching to raise further money and soon rented space at 18th and McNab where he opened a thrift store and a food bank. When the owner of the shopping center found out what Poverello’s mission was, he wouldn’t renew the space and Father Bill and staff had to move their operation again.

poverello-bowl-a-thon-3The group moved on this time to the Shoppes of Wilton Manors, they were for 18 years until their recent move to Dixie Highway, near the Pride Center. The larger location has more space for the Poverello store and food bank.

This year, the Bowl-A-Thon is more important than ever, explained Poverello Fundraising Coordinator Dale Madison. There were drastic budget cuts towards HIV program funding and local organizations are suffering.

“We’ve been hit drastically by this,” Madison explained. “We were giving clients two boxes of food (each box lasts for seven days), but now we can only give one.”

“How the government thinks we can feed people is beyond me,” he added.

Because of this emergency, it is extremely important for people to donate and participate in the Bowl-A-Thon. This is Poverello’s biggest fundraiser of the year and 100-percent of funds raised goes directly to clients. Bowlers can sign up and start teams up to the day of the event. It will be after the deadline to get t-shirts and sponsors, but they can still raise money for the non-profit.

The Bowl-A-Thon was always at Manor Lanes until last year when it was moved to Sawgrass Lanes in Tamarac because Sawgrass is large enough to accomodate all of the teams. The move turned out to be a good one last year and Poverello is hoping to duplicate that success this year.

poverello-bowl-a-thon-4“It is one hell of a fun day,” Madison said. “Everyone has a great time.”

And the fundraiser was a success financially as well.

“We raised somewhere around $42,000 which is down a bit from previous years, but still respectable,” Madison said.

Those who worry about the distance, needn’t—like last year, Poverello is chartering luxury coaches which, Madison said, are beautiful, comfortable and air-conditioned.

“People thought we were going to do school buses and I was like, ‘Don’t you know me?'” said Madison, who has been a professional event planner for years.

The buses are being sponsored by Congressman Alfie Hastings, Pisco Porton, Boom and Gay Mart.

Riding these luxury coaches will be perfect for those who want to drink and party at the Bowl-A-Thon, because they don’t want people to drink and drive.

There will be an after party at Bill’s – the neighborhood favorite raised the most funds at the Bowl-A-Thon last year and won hosting duties of the party.

There will be several exciting prizes for bowlers at the event, but the main goal is to raise as much money as you can for the life-saving non-profit.

“Help is needed now more than ever,” said Madison.

Those who wish to donate online, can visit Poverello.org to pledge money through PayPal. If you wish to donate to a certain Bowler, email Madison at dale Madison@poverello.org so that he knows who to credit.

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