By Gisele McKnight
An avid golfer, the Rev. Kevin McAllister appears to have been bitten badly by the bowling bug.
“We’ve decided to expand it!” he said, “it” being the wildly successful bowling tournament he organized last year that brought it more than $7,500 to help build a library at Bishop McAllister College in Uganda.
“We’re going to try a tri-city tournament with Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton. The three cities will all be playing in their respective bowling alleys simultaneously on April 21.”
This year, the focus is different and closer to home — childhood hunger in New Brunswick. The theme, which will appear on t-shirts for sale shortly, is “Strike Out Child Hunger.” Each of the three cities will choose a local charity that addresses the issue.
In Fredericton, Kevin has chosen the Fredericton Community Kitchen’s Student Hunger Program. Every day, volunteers make upwards of 355 lunches for 18 area schools to make sure students get a noon meal.
“We decided to expand because the problem is province-wide,” said Kevin. “By inviting and challenging churches in Moncton and Saint John, we could help people in all three cities. When you raise awareness, people begin to take notice and take action.”
It was last year’s Stewardship Day workshop that planted the idea to combat hunger this time around.
“Bishop David talked about child poverty. I didn’t realize it was that bad,” said Kevin. “As a dad and a priest, I don’t think it’s right that people should be hungry, especially kids.
“We can do this,” said Kevin. “More and more, I think we need to do this.”
Kevin has set a lofty goal of $100,000 — $33,000 for each city. The details and locations are still being worked out, but Archdeacons Rob Marsh and Brent Ham, in the Saint John and Moncton regions, have agreed to head the area tournaments.
“We are just at the early planning stages, but I think this is a wonderful idea and initiative,” said Brent. “Bowling is a popular activity in our communities and it will be good to see the parishes work together to support a great cause.
“Personally, I am no ‘kingpin’ but I promise to practice in my ‘spare’ time — no pun intended,” he quipped.
Parishes can form teams, sponsor teams, buy a T-shirt, or just turn up to be a cheerleader. The number of teams that can participate will be limited to the number of bowling lanes available, so Kevin urges parishes to plan early.
“We are using the t-shirts to help with donations but also to help with building awareness that child hunger and poverty in our province are bigger than we would like to admit,” said Kevin. “We encourage all who purchase a shirt to wear it often and to especially wear it on the 21st of April in support of our bowling tournament.”
T-shirts should be ready for purchase, at $15 each, in a few days. Contact Kevin via email: micksizepint at yahoo.ca.
Outside of Fredericton, Kevin encourage all parishes in the Saint John, Kennebecasis, Sussex and Moncton/Riverview areas to support their archdeacons in this initiative. For those parishes outside these areas who still want to contribute, sponsoring a team would be the ideal way to lend a hand.