By Gisele McKnight
The total keeps rising, but as of April 30, the bowling tournament fundraiser is hovering at the $25,000 mark. The April 21st event saw four bowling alleys in three archdeaconries — Fredericton, Moncton and Kingston and the Kennebecasis — filled with Anglican bowlers on a mission. The money will go to local charities and programs that combat childhood hunger.
“You’re calling to talk to the champions, are you?” was the way Archdeacon Brent Ham began this interview.
With 17 teams in two bowling alleys and the most bowlers, the Archdeaconry of Moncton really did shine during this year’s tournament. That was despite two funerals on bowling day, one in Shediac and one at St. James in Moncton where the after-party was to be held.
“Shediac had a major funeral come up and had to pull out. They were the first to come on board,” said Brent. “Despite all the challenges, I think we did OK. A couple of parishes stepped up and put together some teams.”
And St. Philip opened its doors, hosting the bowlers and putting on a barbecue and potluck.
During this first year of Moncton’s involvement, Brent went for participation over fundraising, but the archdeaconry still managed to raise $12,000. They had all the lanes at Fairlanes Bowling donated. They sold t-shirts, ran a cookie campaign and solicited donations from individuals.
Shediac raised $2,417; Riverview raised $1,750, St. Andrew’s raised $1,631 and tiny Hillsborough Riverside raised $1,000.
“The real surprise was a lot of smaller parishes came in with really good amounts,” said Brent. “Kent raised $1,255. For a small parish, that is really good. They all did so well, right across the board!”
Beyond the fundraising, the other positive was the fellowship.
“It was great to see the parishes in the archdeaconry come together, laugh together, work together and reach out to our community together,” he said. “We had a lot of fun with it, but we had terrible bowlers!”
Brent, a bit cheeky at the beginning of the interview, admitted his bowling skills were put to shame. Remember Maisie Campbell, the 95-year-old from Sackville who put together a team?
“She was amazing! She beat my score,” he said. “She bowled an 88. I didn’t get close to 88!”
At an awards ceremony afterwards, St. George’s proved to be the leader, with a team total of 475 points.
The money will go to various local initiatives that help feed hungry children, including food banks and breakfast programs. One of the big ones is Blessing in a Backpack, which packs food in backpacks for weekend use.
Kingston and the Kennebecasis
In the Kennebecasis Valley, eight parishes took over the KV Bowling Lanes and raised about $2,000.
“I enjoy bowling,” said Heather Hynds of St. Lukes in Gondola Point. “I think it’s definitely a good cause and something I’m happy to be able to support.”
Kathy Ferguson of St. Augustine’s in Quispamsis, was enjoying the fellowship and the cause.
“I’m a teacher and I’m familiar with issues of hungry students,” she said. “It’s obvious when a child comes in hungry. And as the years progress, it seems to be getting worse and worse.
“Having food at school and sending them to get something to eat — you should see the look on their faces!”
Donna Clark, of Christ the King Church in Saint John, was there for the bowling — she easily knocked down 10 pins in one frame — but also for the cause of hungry children.
“Food banks have a special place in my heart,” she said, adding she has a family member in need of exactly what the money was being raised for. “I just wanted to participate and have fun for a worthy cause.”
Overseeing the event was Archdeacon Rob Marsh.
“There’s a lot of laughter and a lot of fun here — intergenerational fun!” he said.
Their funds will be split between three food banks from Sussex to Quispamsis.
In Fredericton, 12 teams and several ghost teams — non bowlers who raised money — filled the Bowl-A-Drome on the city’s north side for the second year in a row. Parishes that couldn’t field an entire team joined other parishes.
“We have to think of possibly expanding it next year,” said Kevin McAllister, incumbent at the Parishes of Marysville, Minto & Chipman and the organizer of both last year’s and this year’s events.
“I think there’s an opportunity for a province-wide effort to strike out hunger,” he said. “Hopefully if parishes catch on to this, we could do it. Hunger is not just in the south. It’s as much an opportunity to raise funds as it is awareness.”
Anyone interested in helping organize in the other archdeaconries is encouraged to contact Kevin.
Apart from a bowling alley full of bowlers, there were several dozen cheerleaders who came out just to join in the fun. After the event, food and fellowship continued at All Saint’s Church. Warden Wendy Banks solicited food from other parishes and that combined effort resulted in a shared meal for 70 bowlers and others.
Fredericton had the added bonus of a team of Tory MLAs and a team from the Fredericton Community Kitchens. Their Student Hunger Program is the recipient of the Fredericton-area fundraising.
“It was really nice to see them come out,” Kevin said of the MLAs. “They took part and had a good time.”
Speaking of the Fredericton Community Kitchens team, Kevin said, “They were overwhelmed with so many taking part — how people came together.”
The fundraising efforts in the Fredericton area also included a continuing bottle drive, and of course, the t-shirt sales, which are still ongoing. By Monday, April 30, Kevin was confident they’d reached the $12,000 mark, and with more expected, felt the $25,000 overall mark would be reached.
Anything that comes in after May 31 will go in the pot to begin next year’s efforts.
“That’s a lot of money to feed kids in all three archdeaconries, and everyone should be proud of themselves for their efforts,” said Kevin.
Kevin remembers his own childhood and the lunches he had.
“My dad made horrible lunches. The ham was so thin you could see through it,” he said. “But I had a lunch, and I had the option to eat it.”
The Student Hunger Program in Fredericton prepares 355 bagged lunches every school day for children in 15 schools. They also prepare snacks and breakfasts in schools throughout the Fredericton area, and fill backpacks with food for weekend use. For more information, check their website. http://frederictoncommunitykitchen.com/school-hunger-program/