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TSU fans can shoot for charity

Staff Writer

Tonight, Troy State University basketball fans will have the opportunity to win prizes and help local agencies.

Regions Bank, the Pike County United Way and TSU are sponsoring the fund-raiser.

Prior to the 7 p.m. tip-off against Central Florida, fans will have the opportunity to purchase numbered balls they will toss from the stands onto the hardwood. Balls will cost $1 and will be sold beginning at 6 p.m.

The lucky person who hits the miniature goal will win $500 from Regions Bank, said Taron Thorpe, who works for the bank and serves on the United Way board.

And, Tom Murphree can attest to the fact it is possible to win.

Last year, Murphree won and donated that money back to the United Way.

Most importantly, Thorpe added, is the money raised by selling balls will assist 15 agencies under the United Way umbrella.

"All of the money raised will be used to fund the United Way 2002 Campaign," said Jane Thrash, secretary of the United Way board.

Because last year’s campaign was short of its goal and resulted in prorated checks to agencies, Thorpe and Thrash are both encouraging TSU fans to come out tonight and support the Trojans and the United Way.

Operating on a $100,000 budget, the Pike County United Way Board had to prorate funding to its 15 agencies by 50 percent because fund-raising efforts were not successful, last year.

In 2000, about $97,000 was raised and, this year, the amount pledged was only $76,000.

Thrash said there is still about $22,000 in outstanding pledges that must come in for the 2001 campaign, in addition to the money being raised for this year’s campaign.

Doc Kirby, president of the United Way Board, said he’s "pleased collections are a little better," but asked those who have not fulfilled their promise to do so.

"We rely on that money to help people of all kinds," Kirby said.

For the past two years, it’s been a struggle to meet the campaign.

But, the situation is not new to the local United Way, which has been operating in proration since 1996, Thrash said.

"Instead of cutting, we were hoping we could raise $130,000, but we weren’t able to," Thrash said of the 2001 campaign.

Kirby pointed out it is easy to give through individual donations or payroll deduction. "We, desperately, need people to support us in payroll giving," Kirby said.

"You can do it easily and help those in need."

Officially, the campaign began with a Sept. 20 kickoff that involved representatives of all the agencies funded by United Way.

In Pike County, the United Way provides funding to Alabama Easter Seals Society, American Red Cross, Boy Scouts, East Central Mental Health-Mental Retardation, Girl Scouts, Pike County 4-H Clubs, RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program), the House of Ruth, Pike County Christmas Program, Troy Charity League, Salvation Army, Pike County YMCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pike County, Colley Senior Complex and the Pike County Fire fighters Association.

"We need to make people realize they are investing in the future by becoming a part of the Pike County United Way," Thrash said.

One of the points she and agency representatives have is the fact all the money raised in Pike County stays in Pike County.

Anyone who can not attend the game and wants to donate to the United Way can mail checks or money orders to P.O. Box 204, Troy, Ala., 36081.