Ferris wheel rides and funnel cakes turned into money for charitable organizations in the Augusta area.
The Augusta Exchange Club awarded more than $120,000 Thursday to 27 local nonprofits. The money was proceeds from the 2011 Georgia-Carolina State Fair and the Augusta Charity Classic golf tournament, which was held in March.
“That’s something all the members of this club should be very proud of,” said Augusta Exchange Club President Dave Davis. “We work hard all throughout the year. We work hard at the fair. As the founding members of this club said when they were drawing up their charter, they wanted to give back – and that’s what we’ve done for 90 years.”
The RECing Crew, a North Augusta group that organizes recreational activities for people with disabilities, was the recipient of a $2,000 check from the Exchange Club. The money was designated for the Alley Cats program, which sponsors 75 people ages 6 to 78 every Tuesday for bowling.
“Most of the individuals don’t have other activities to do outside school or home,” said The RECing Crew’s director, Pam Stickler. “This gives them an outlet into the community and an opportunity to have fun with their own peers.”
The check will offset one month’s costs associated with bowling, such as renting shoes and buying adaptive equipment. The RECing Crew depends on grants and donations from civic organizations such as the Exchange Club to continue its programs, Stickler said.
The 27 organizations accepted checks at a luncheon at First Baptist Church of Augusta.
A range of charitable services was represented, including children’s advocacy, health care, community centers, homeless shelters and Christian outreach.
One check went to help Kids Restart, a group that provides parenting classes and supervised visitation for foster children. The organization spends $800 each month on gas traveling to homes and also finances a visitation center, said its executive director, Daniela Whitaker.
“When a child moves into foster care, it’s very difficult to be away from your family,” Whitaker said. “We provide visitation once a week for an hour and a half, which is actually more than the Georgia standard.”