Northland News

Bowl to Help will aid Helping Hands free clinic

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The economy may be showing definite signs of improving, but that rising tide isn't floating all boats.

Just ask the people who turn to the Helping Hands Health and Wellness Center free clinic for medical care because they don't have health insurance -- or not enough of it.

"We haven't seen enough of the recovery yet in the bracket of people we serve," Joyce Bourgault, executive director at Helping Hands, said last week. "We're still seeing a lot of people who it hasn't touched yet. Our numbers haven't changed any."

To keep up with the ongoing demand for services, a fall fundraising campaign is underway that includes a variety of online appeals, participation in "The Big Give" sponsored by the Columbus Foundation and, on Oct. 20, the major income-producer for the nonprofit clinic, Bowl to Help.

"We're trying to have more focus on the whole season, a new start of everything," Bourgault said.

This will be the fifth annual event, held at Columbus Square Bowling Palace, 5700 Forest Hills Blvd.

"We've got more and better prizes this year," Bourgault said.

Participation fees for the bowling fundraiser are $25 for adults and $10 for children younger than 12. It runs from 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 20. The registration fee covers bowling and shoe rental, refreshments provided by local businesses and raffle tickets for prize drawings.

George Hadler of the Hadler Cos., owns Columbus Square Bowling Palace and sits on the board of directors for Helping Hands Health and Wellness Center, which is how the fundraiser originated, according to Bourgault.

"It's been a really successful way of doing our fundraising in the fall," she said. "It brings in a good amount and it's fun."

Because the fundraiser takes place close to Halloween, adult participants often wear costumes and there is a costume contest for children that will be judged by Mindy Drayer, a local television news anchor.

"For every $1 donated, Helping Hands provides $10 worth of medical care," according to the brochure for the event.

Special prizes will go to the top three fundraisers.

Several teams of bowlers have made Bowl to Help an annual tradition, according to Bourgault.

"They have a blast," she said. "They're coming back because they have such a good time."

John LaFollette of Acme Music, former lead singer and guitarists for several central Ohio bands, will be the master of ceremonies.

This year's Bowl to Help sponsors include White Castle, St. Francis DeSales High School, WesBanco, Meijer and the Columbus Square Shopping Center.

Online registration can be completed at helpinghandsfreeclinic.org. Credit cards and PayPal are accepted at the nonprofit organization's website.

More information is available by calling 614-262-5094 or sending an email to helpinghandsfreeclinic@hotmail.com.

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