The 15th annual Strike Out Hunger bowling fundraiser, held March 31 at River Rand Bowl in north suburban Des Plaines was a success.
About 130 bowlers participated, spread out over 23 of the facilities' 24 lanes. About $7,000 was raised for Vital Bridges Center on Chronic Careand more than $100,000 has been raised over the years.
"I'm proud that it is a good contribution," said John Paquet, who was the president of the 9 To 12 League for 12 years. "The fact that we've been able to raise $100,000, I'm very proud of that. Tonight is all about fund-raising and having a good timeand I really think everyone is having fun."
Teams of six bowled three casual games each, with every game carrying a carefree approach.
"I really enjoy this event," said Jack Marunde, 43, who lives in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood and is now the 9 To 12 League president. "I've been attending this event for the past three or four years, and it really is a blast; I have fun every year and think everyone does."
The event is the brainchild of former league bowler John Kautz, who suggested a fundraiser to aid the former HIVCO (HIV Coalition) facility in Elk Grove Village. "The first [fundraiser] was relatively modest; we filled about half of the lanes. Now it's basically a sellout, and has been for years.
"I had no idea, at the first event, that this would take off, but I'm very happy with the success of it. I'm happy we've been able to grow and sustain the event. I'm grateful for the support from the community."
Debbie Hinde, the chief health care strategist for Vital Bridges, said the event has a "huge impact."
"I think it's wonderful that groups of people in the community do something to help," she added. "The [9 To 12] league has been committed to raising funds, and just being supportive."