“Fundraising is extremely important for us. It’s how the organization pays for about 60 percent of its operating expenses,” said Shemeka Bond, the Palm City Reapers’ vice president. “It costs money to book practice fields, have new equipment, have insurance, buy uniforms, sponsor less economically fortunate families, and pay for advertising. Hopefully our program can obtain more support from the local community.”
The amount of preparation needed for a fundraiser can be daunting.
Food has to be bought and cooked, car washes have to be organized, deadlines have to be scheduled, and volunteers have to be contacted — and show up.
But no matter the amount of planning, youth football programs must rely on one factor they have no control over — community participation.
“At this point, we are totally dependent on the generosity of the Patterson community. And there are community businesses who have provided services,” said Lynette Jackson, a representative for the Central Valley Bengals. “We want every child who wants to play, or be a part of something, to have that opportunity. Currently, team parents have committed to volunteer hours, providing whatever services that they can.”
An annual Fourth of July firework booth in Patterson serves as one of the largest fundraisers for Ravens youth football, regularly bringing in thousands of dollars to the program.
Eileen Guevarra, secretary for the Ravens, said without their firework booth, some of the program’s athletes might not be able to afford the cost of registration.
“Twenty-five percent of (proceeds) goes towards the kids’ registration fees, and the other 75 percent goes towards the cost of insurance, reconditioning football equipment, (fees for) practice fields and the usage of the stadium, and cheerleading camps.”
What’s on tap?
This season, the Palm City Reapers are participating in the Oakland Raider’s fundraising program, an endeavor that helps organizations raise money by selling Raiders tickets at a special fundraising price ($45 to $60) and receiving $20 per ticket sold.
In addition to raising funds for their program, Reapers’ athletes also have the opportunity to participate in game day events.
“So far, we have sold almost 100 tickets,” Bond said. “But in order for the Reapers to scrimmage at the October 6 game (against the San Diego Chargers at O.co Coliseum), 200 tickets have to be sold by September 1. However, we will be selling tickets through November 29.”
Plans are set for the Bengals’ dinner-delivery fundraiser, the program’s first annual fundraising event, to take place on Friday, July 26.
Tickets for the dinner-delivery — which includes either a lasagna or barbecue chicken meal, complete with three sides, dessert and a beverage — can be purchased for $10.
“Our (program) is in its infancy, and we have players without a funding source,” Jackson said. “Bengals’ board members and leadership came up with the (dinner-delivery) idea to raise funds quickly for that reason.”
To further offset some of the costs for the Bengals’ players, the program has organized a benefit car wash on Saturday, July 27 at CVS Pharmacy, on the corner of Sperry and Las Palmas avenues.
Bond said she hopes the surrounding community makes a concerted effort to support the events. Residents know the money they spend on fundraisers will be used to help the athletes, she added.
“Our goal is to purchase new equipment, and to help cover the cost of athletes who are sponsored through our program,” Bond said.
• Central Valley Bengals: www.cvbengals.com
• Palm City Reapers: 1-855-732-7377
• Ravens Youth Football: www.ravensyouthfootball.org
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or firstname.lastname@example.org.