Posted by: Dan Plutchak
in This Just In on January 29, 2012
Tagged in: Untagged
While rivals from the Craig and Parker basketball teams battled on the court inside Craig high school two weeks ago, in the hallway outside, boosters from Craig and Parker worked side by side to benefit their neighbors in need.
The Eastside and Westside Basketball Booster clubs came together Jan. 12 and 13 during the Craig-Parker boys and girls basketball games to host a food drive and raise money for ECHO.
Volunteers collected food items from fans as the entered, while a 50-50 raffle held each night raised much-needed money.
Mike Thompson, president of the Westside Basketball Booster Club, and Dave Marshick, president of the Eastside Basketball Booster Club, presented a check to ECHO a week ago.
The two-evening effort raised 645 pounds of food and about $850. (Which included $5 from my non-winning tickets, by the way.)
So in a town where the friendly Craig-Parker rivalry often turns passionate, how did the two groups come together for this fundraiser?
"It was more about Janesville than it was about east side or west side," Thompson said.
As the school district budget becomes ever-tighter, both groups have helped their programs by hosting several events throughout the year to raise money.
But for this fundraiser, they joined forces for the community.
With the boys and girls games being on successive nights, it was a good opportunity to reach as many people as possible, Marshick said.
And the timing couldn't have been better for ECHO.
ECHO, which stands for Everyone Cooperating to Help Others, is a faith-community charity serving low-income individuals and families in the Janesville area.
The generosity of residents during the holidays begins to wane when the calendar turns to January.
"The money is wonderful because donations start dropping off dramatically after the holidays," said Executive Director Karen Lisser.
Lisser uses a rule of thumb that one pound of food equals about two meals, so the food donation alone will provide nearly 1,300 meals.
In addition to food, the cash raised in the raffle will be used for everything from rent assistance to buying diapers for babies.
If you missed out on the booster clubs' food drive, there will be another opportunity to support ECHO next month, said Jessica Shafer, a client advocate.
ECHO will join with Caritas in Beloit to host an Empty Bowls fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 25 at Beloit Memorial High School.
Caritas serves families that live north of Rockford, Ill., and south of Janesville.
The food will be donated by local vendors, and the proceeds will go to the organizations.
Tickets are $5, and can be purchased either at ECHO or Caritas.