PACE — A local nonprofit group is holding its eighth annual fundraising event to support nine different causes. The theme for the 2019 Sportsmen Givin' Back Banquet is Fighting Childhood Hunger.
The Sportsmen nonprofit group hosts the event once a year and gives 100 percent of its fundraising profits to local charities and individuals. The banquet is scheduled for 5 p.m. Oct. 5 at Immanuel Baptist Church in Pace.
"The reason we started these events is really two-fold. We saw a need in the community to help provide funding for these smaller organizations, who needed assistance in obtaining some additional funding," said Bryen Ballard, founder and president of Sportsmen Givin' Back. "Additionally, we were aware of individuals in the community that were looking for a safe place to donate, where their donation would directly benefit local causes. It was important to us to get these two groups together."
The combined impact of these charities will benefit thousands of people within the local communities. The Sportsmen have raised and given over $165,000 to local organizations.
Tickets for the dinner and guest speaker have sold out. However, tickets are still available for the guest speaker, raffles, door prizes, live music and silent auction. Raffle tickets are $10 each for a Big Green Egg package donated by Alyssa's Antique Depot. Speaker only tickets are $10 per person and may have some available at the door.
The speaker this year is Johnny Morgan, owner of Obedience 2 Death. Through O2D, Morgan uses his team of Labrador Retrievers to demonstrate pure obedience. Morgan uses humor, the dogs' skills and simple instruction to engage the audience.
Since the theme is Fighting Childhood Hunger, the Sportsmen are also having a food drive. There is a list of specific items on their Facebook page, @Sportsmengivinback. Those attendees that bring two specific items off that list will receive a ticket for a special prize, a Henry .22 lever-action repeating rifle.
Ballard founded the nonprofit Sportsmen group to help less fortunate people in the community enjoy the outdoors. Being avid outdoorsman, Ballard said they create opportunities like fishing trips for special needs kids and hunting excursions for wounded warriors.
"Each year, we try to pick smaller, local charities that are working for a great cause, where we can also impact the most people in the community through our contribution. Our organization also seeks out one to two individuals or families that may be facing really tough times to include in our list of recipients," said Ballard.
Top tier recipients for 2019 are FoodRaising Friends Inc., Outreach Navarre Inc., and Weekend Food Program of Navarre.
Additional recipients are:
Jase Murphy - a toddler with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia
Kohlton James - a 10-year-old with Langerhans cell histiocytosis
Life Options Clinic
Miracle League of Pensacola
Operation Outdoor Freedom
Ronald McDonald House Charities of NWFL
Santa Rosa County Bridges Out of Poverty