The numbers have been crunched and the Celebrity Hoops Basketball Game has doled out more than $13,000 to Valley community groups.
Jericho Road Church youth pastor Harold Left Williams and Pastor John Cox handed out the proceeds to 10 groups last month.
“We have to be a church that reaches out into the community,” Williams said. “These groups can make a contribution that will benefit others in a healthy way.”
More than 18 organizations applied for assistance from the initiative, and a special board of directors sifted through applications and chose 10 of them.
Port Alberni KidsSport received the largest contribution at $5,000. The organization helps pay sports registration fees for families that can’t afford it. The donation will help approximately 150 children participate in sports, KidsSport spokesperson Ron Doetzel said.
The Alberni District Secondary School Athletic Program received $2,500. The department has seen cutbacks so the money would likely be used to help with team travel, athletic department head Mike Roberts said.
Three organizations that operate food programs: the ADSS Breakfast Program, Eighth Avenue Backpack Pro and Neighbourhood Link Read and Feed – received $550 each.
The Alberni Valley Community School, Port Alberni Athletic Hall Association, army and navy cadets programs, and Port Alberni Special Olympics program received $1,000 each.
The Port Alberni RCMP DARE Program also received $1,000. DARE has a special significance for Williams.
Williams grew up in Jersey City, New Jersey, where opportunities for inner city youth were limited. The local DARE program made the difference between Williams pursuing a positive direction in life and being drawn into the morass of gangs, violence, drugs and crime.
“I was a DARE kid. An officer who worked in the program didn’t want to see me get into trouble and kept me on the right track,” Williams said.
“If it wasn’t for DARE— forget about it.”
The celebrity hoops event actually raised more than $14,000 but $1,000 had to be taken out to pay for a backboard that was broken at the Athletic Hall before the game.