Originally created 04/01/04

Local rugby club kicks up charitable efforts



When the Augusta Rugby Club was looking for ways to gain exposure within the community, Alexi Servy came up with an idea: Collect donations for charities at home games.

The club picked two charities - the American Breast Cancer Association of the CSRA and the Medical College of Georgia Children's Medical Center - and dedicated a men's home game to each of them.

The first home game was March 20 against the Savannah Rugby Club and Servy said the club collected $261 for the American Breast Cancer Association.

The club's next and final home game is 1 p.m. Saturday against the Hilton Head Rugby Club at Richmond Academy High School. Admission is free and donations will go to the Medical College of Georgia Children's Medical Center.

Servy said that originally he was going to pass around a hat to collect money, but only about 100 people showed up to the first home game.

That's when he decided to scrap plans for a free raffle and instead charge $1 a ticket and donate the proceeds. The club will present the $261 check to the cancer association at one of its banquets in May.

The rugby club will again use raffle tickets Saturday to raise money.

Prizes for the raffle include gift certificates to area restaurants, which the cancer association and medical center had received as donations.

Servy, who handles media relations and public service announcements for the team, said he picked the two charities based on the size of their local following and their need. The club plans to do the same thing at home games next season, but Servy said he will choose different charities.

"We want to get the team more involved with helping the community," Servy said.

He thinks that will lead to increased support for the rugby club, which would likely turn around and benefit local charities.

Another way the club is trying to expand its reach in the community is by starting up rugby programs for children. Servy said he would like to see under-19 and under-13 recreational teams, as well as some high school teams in the Augusta area by next spring. He's working on a presentation right now to show at area high schools.

He said the Augusta Rugby Club has about 300 members right now, with about 20 playing on the men's team.

For more information, check out the club's official Web site at www.augustarugby.org.

Reach Kristy Shonka at (706) 823-3219

or kristy.shonka@augustachronicle.com.