UNION — The proceeds from a chicken stew held in November are now in the hands of those working to give special needs athletes the opportunity to play baseball.
The Union County Aid Relief Effort or UCARE is an organization of Union County employees who donate a small portion of their salaries to helping the needy at Christmas. The group also conducts fund-raising activities, most recently taking part in a chicken stew designed to raise money for the Miracle League of Union County.
The league works to give special needs individuals the opportunity to play baseball. It is currently in the process of raising $60,000 to meet a challenge by the Timken Family Foundation of Canton, Ohio. The foundation donated $25,000 to the league in October and challenged the people of Union County to raise $60,000 by August of 2013. If the amount is raised by that time, the foundation will match it with another $60,000.
The raising of the challenge funds is part of an even larger effort by the league to raise a total of $250,000 to modify Field No. 1 at the Timken Sports Complex for use by disabled adults and children. Union County Council voted unanimously earlier this year to allow the league to use the field, but before it can do so a flat, low-impact surface that will support any mobility aid including walkers and wheelchairs must be installed.
Local clubs, businesses and other organizations have been working with the league to help it raise the challenge amount and the rest of the funds needed to modify the field.
In November, UCARE, along with county officials and the assistance of league members, held a chick stew sale in the Union County Stadium parking lot to help move the league closer to its goal. Nearly 450 quarts of stew were sold. On Friday, during a ceremony in Union County Supervisor Tommy Sinclair’s office, the proceeds from that sale were presented by Becky Cobb, UCARE vice president, and Kevin Shropshire, UCARE president, to Amy Austin, league executive director.
“The proceeds from the stew totaled $3,279 and today UCARE gladly presented the check for $3,279 to the Miracle League,” Cobb said. “We’d like to thank everybody who put in the hours to prepare and serve the chicken stew.”
Austin accepted the check and thanked everyone for their efforts.
“I’d just like to thank Tommy Sinclair and Neil Valentine for heading up everything and organizing their volunteers,” Austin said. “I was just overwhelmed at how many people came out and bought that much chicken stew. I was just amazed at how everybody came together and did this for us and the ballplayers. They got up really early, worked really hard and got a lot of donations for us.”
Also during the week of the chicken stew, two donations of $1,000 each was made to the league, bring the total of funds raised during that time to more than $5,000. In addition, Tubozzz restaurant and the Union Civitan Club also held fundraisers for the league.
With these donations, the league is just $30,000 from its challenge goal and its overall goal.
During Friday’s ceremony, Cobb announced that UCARE is also raising funds for the league through its annual 12 Days of Christmas fund-raising event. She said anyone who wants more information about the 12 event can call her at 426-3960.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com.