The Bowmantown Ruritan Club is on a campaign to replace the lights on its county league youth baseball field.
Carrying on a more than 40-year tradition of field and team sponsorship for the county league, the club has expanded its sponsorship to five T-ball and baseball teams for boys and girls ages 4-16 this year.
Chris Correll, the club’s treasurer and athletic director, said the new teams are older and play later into the night. The lights on the field are old and inefficient and the club is working to replace them with new lights that will illuminate the field better and cut down on the cost of the electricity they use.
To really make it nice, Correll said about 20 new lights will be needed at a cost of $300 per light plus the rental of a lift needed for the club members to install the lights themselves.
So far the club’s 25 members have purchased and installed eight of those lights with money taken from its ball field fund, money that Correll said needs to be replaced, putting the outstanding cost of the project at about $5,500.
Correll said what makes the ball field’s upkeep more challenging in Bowmantown, is that several of the larger communities in rural Washington County with teams in the league have schools with ball fields maintained by the county.
In Bowmantown, the Ruritan bought the community’s abandoned school building years ago, leaving its members financially responsible for the field’s upkeep. But for the more than 60 kids playing on the Ruritan teams this summer, Correll said, “It’s worth it. It does a lot of good for the kids.”
In a typical year, without the cost of a major lighting update, the club sells concessions, collects $30 fees from the kids who can afford to pay, takes up donations and hosts open pit barbecue chicken sales to break even on the ball field upkeep. Funds raised in the club’s monthly breakfasts and annual golf tournament go to other community projects, including financial assistance to families struck by fires or other disasters, building wheelchair ramps or providing other help to seniors and others with medical needs and supporting other organizations that benefit the community.
“Donations and fundraisers are the only way clubs like Bowmantown can continue to help their communities and keep kids playing ball in summer,” Correll said.
The club is inviting anyone who wishes to help replace the ball field’s lights to make a tax-deductible donation earmarked for the ball field fund to Bowmantown Ruritan, P.O. Box 404, Limestone, TN 37681. More information about the project may be obtained by calling Correll at 483-8802.
Good Samaritan Ministries is zeroing in on the $189,000 cost of its annual Summer Food program for 600 area families who struggle to feed their children without the free and reduced-price breakfasts and lunches they receive during the school year.
Sarah Wells, the ministry’s executive director, said Tuesday that donations from contributors to the program have brought Good Samaritan within $10,600 of completely paying for the program’s three monthly distributions of enough meats, dairy products, shelf stable food items, cleaning supplies and paper products to last each of those families about two weeks and schools supplies for the back-to-school distribution for each child that will wrap up the program on July 27.
In a year when the cost of food is at an all-time high and a record number of Northeast Tennessee residents are depending on community pantries for help, including the very busy pantry at Good Samaritan, the community’s meeting the final cost of food and school supplies for the program will be needed.
For those who wish to help, a $35 sponsorship will cover the cost of a food box for one family for one month or $105 will sponsor one family for the entire summer. Monetary donations to Good Samaritan Ministries earmarked for Summer Food may be made online at www.goodsamjc.org or by mail to P.O. Box 2441, Johnson City, TN 37605. All donations are tax deductible and receipts will be provided upon request.
School supplies for the back-to-school distribution may be brought to the Good Samaritan building at 100 N. Roan St. between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Those who wish to volunteer in the Summer Food distributions or back-to-school picnic are encouraged to call the ministry at 928-1958.
If there is a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at email@example.com, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605 1717 or 929-3111, ext. 335.