Reading non-profit partner for mini-golf fundraiser

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Family fun is the focus of a golf-themed fundraiser for Olivet Boys & Girls Club and Blankets of Hope.

The three-day event at Sittler Golf, 497 Mountain Home Road, South Heidelberg Township, began Friday and continues today.

It features miniature golf, a driving range and specials on ice, raffles, drawings and prizes for a hole-in-one.

Part of the profits benefit the two non-profit associations.

The first day drew about 250 people, said Marc J. Goldstein, founder of Blankets of Hope.

Despite cooler temperatures and cloud cover on Saturday, Goldstein said he expected good turnout.

“It’s a great day to hit,” he said at the start of day two. “It’s cooler, not super hot. A little drizzle is nothing to a golfer.

And even if it’s pouring rain, Goldstein added, patrons can head to the golf course’s Big Bertha’s Grill for hot or cold meals.

“People are always going to go get ice cream,” he said.

Mohnton’s Christina Cavanna, right, putts while Muhlenberg Township’s Krystal Mergner prepares as they play mini-golf on Saturday in the Blankets of Hope and Olivet Boys & Girls Club fundraiser at Sittler’s Golf near Sinking Spring . (BILL UHRICH – READING EAGLE)

Teaming up for a joint fundraiser felt natural, said Alec Reinert, vice president of development for the Olivet Boys & Girls Club of Reading and Berks County.

Club locations provide a safe environment and programs that encourage character development, build life skills, and expose youth to arts and culture.

Olivet takes great pride in his community partnerships, like the one he has with Blankets of Hope, he said.

The nonprofit organization provides blankets and beds to homeless shelters and other agencies that can supply them to those in need.

The two organizations began working together at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to help provide blankets and beds to club children in need.

So far, children from 150 families have received the makings of a good night’s sleep, Reinert said.

“We were sort of debating ideas of what we could do,” he and. “We said, ‘you know, we both love golf.’ ”

The nonprofits hold their annual golf tournaments just five days apart, both with the help and generosity of Rick Kline, owner of Sittler.

Kline is also First Tee president of Lehigh and Berks.

The nonprofit strives to empower children and teens through the game of golf.

Kline and First Tee help young Olivets learn the game and life lessons that help them mature in a fun, safe and structured environment, Reinert said.

“We love the lessons that golf teaches,” he said. “It’s about knowing how to succeed, overcoming obstacles, things like that.”

First Tee’s program helps children develop self-esteem, confidence and leadership and life skills, including managing emotions, resolving conflict, setting goals, planning for life. future and appreciation of diversity, as well as the development of golf skills, according to the organization’s website, firsttee.org.

Reinert and Goldstein pitched their idea for a fundraiser to Sittler at Kline, who jumped on board.

“Their staff has been amazing,” Goldstein said, noting that there was great customer interaction as well.

The event goes beyond fundraising.

“It’s about educating someone who may not know Olivet or Blankets of Hope,” he said.

It can help connect nonprofits with those who need their services or with potential donors, he said.

“Our plan is to do this every year,” Reinert said. “Our goal is to make this an annual event.”

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