Poverello Fills Grocery Bags With Bowling Balls

Kevin Clevenger poses with the donation boxes at the 25th annual Poverello Bowl-a-thon Photo Credit: J.R. Davis.

When one of Greg Beltran’s clients has trouble affording food, he refers them to Poverello.

Beltran, a Ryan White case manager at Broward House, said he’s lost track of how many people he’s referred to get help from Poverello.

“I don’t think I could quantify that. Poverello is certainly a blessing for a lot of them,” Beltran said.

Some of that food and other services provided by Poverello are paid for with a bit of fun – Poverello’s annual Bowl-A-Thon To Fight Hunger fundraiser.

Registration is now open for the 27th annual bowling event which will be held Saturday, Aug. 12 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Sawgrass Lanes, 8501 N. University Drive, in Tamarac.

Although fighting hunger is the stated goal of the bowl-a-thon, Poverello CEO Thomas Pietrogallo said the money raised helps fund more than just groceries for those in need.

“It benefits people in a number of ways, depending on their level of participation. A lot of our clients are sometimes making a choice between medicine or food,” Pietrogallo said.

One of Poverello’s slogans is “Food is Medicine.”

It’s one that drives Poverello’s staff to provide healthy food for people who need a healthy diet to help improve their condition. “We think that’s one important way we help our clients,” Pietrogallo said.

In addition to feeding thousands of individuals each year, Poverello provides a gym, exercise programs, acupuncturists, holistic therapy, a smoking cessation program, chiropractors, and cooking classes. “All these people [who provide these services] donate their time,” Pietrogallo said.

Last year, over $130,000 was raised during the event.

Kevin Clevenger, Poverello’s events and fundraising coordinator, said this year’s goal is $125,000. The event is funded by other Poverello fundraisers, such as Casino Night and the Celebrity Lip Sync Battle. “[Organizing the other events] raises money to help pay for expenses,” Clevenger said.

The cost to enter is $150 for a team of five and $30 for individuals who register without a team.

Individuals who register before July 1 can save $5. Use the promo code INDV17. Teams of five that register before July 1 save $25. Use promo code TEAM17. Clevenger said teams usually start forming around July and August. But he warned people not to delay until the last minute. The event has a history of being sold out.

Visit HungerFighter.GivingSpirit.com to register.


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