Bowl for Kids’ Sake ‘strikes’ it rich for BBBS

A $50,000 goal is the best birthday present Kristin Reese could ask for.

More than 300 community members celebrated their support of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Columbia Gorge (BBBS) at Bowl for Kids’ Sake 2014 on Saturday, March 8.

Event coordinator Reese, who turns 50 this year, set the goal of $50,000 after the event garnered around $48,000 in 2013.

A record 55 teams from around the region collected donations from family, friends and coworkers in support of BBBS’ community mentoring programs in Hood River, Wasco and Klickitat counties.

Their efforts were rewarded with a bowling party complete with cake, pizza and prizes.

“Our goal this year was to raise $50,000, enough to support 40 matches for a year,” Reese said. “It is heartwarming to think about all the people who contribute to prepare our kids for a brighter future.” In all, the event grossed more than $52,000, half of the BBBSCG program’s annual budget.

“I guess it was just the buzz around town,” Reese said of the event’s growing success. “It was a lot of word of mouth, and Buster and Buddy bears,” she said, referring to Rev. Jeff Mueller’s message-“bearing” ursine statuary at Ninth and State streets.

“And just putting the word out earlier,” Reese said. “We got a lot of calls, from the blue, people wanting to bowl this year. I was a little nervous we wouldn’t have room for everybody. But we did. It’s a full house all day long. People just come from all over and they call and they’re generous and they want to help.”

“We always have a great time at Bowl for Kids’ Sake,” said Tonya Brumley of NW Natural, one of the title sponsors of the event. “We’ve had a team for several years and each year it seems to get better, more exciting and always a lot of fun!”

“Big Brothers Big Sisters is really great program for kids,” said Hannah Simons, HRV Leos co-president. “We love to do what we can to support them … and bowling with friends is a fun way to help out!”

The team from Beneventi’s Pizza took top fundraising honors with a total contribution of $7,500, followed by Hood River Construction’s team, captained by owner Tim Sweeney, which raised $5,200. Sweeney received recognition as the top individual fundraiser, with more than $4,000, through collecting donations and pledges from local contractors and suppliers.

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