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TRAC hosts MLK Day event

On Martin Luther King Day – Monday, Jan. 18 – the Theo Ratliff Activity Center will play host to a sporting event that goes beyond sports and benefits the community at large.

The inaugural Faith Roundball Classic is a 3-on-3 basketball tournament that will entertain spectators and help support Marengo County disaster relief. Trophies will be awarded to the first-, second- and third-place teams in the tournament. Registration for each team is $30, and admission to the tournament is a donation of $3 per person. Concessions will be available, and all proceeds will benefit the Marengo County disaster relief fund. The all-day event is sponsored by the American Red Cross.

“We are a disaster relief facility that is licensed by the Red Cross,” said Ed Ward, the director of the Theo Ratliff Activity Center. “For instance, hurricane victims from the Gulf Coast – we are licensed to house them for a period of time. We’re just supporting the people who support us!”

The tournament will begin at 9 a.m. There is no age category, and churches are encouraged to provide teams for the tournament.

There will be more to the day’s events than the 3-on-3 tournament, however. There will also be seminars to assist people in the community.

“We’re really trying to target the faith-based organizations, churches, civic organizations and clubs that have a mission for humanity,” said ARC representative Jakki Caldwell-Phillips. “MLK Day is being built up as a ‘community day’ to go out and volunteer and do something. Here is something fun that people can do.”

“Not only will it be entertainment from basketball,” Caldwell-Phillips said, “but we are also going to have some enrichment seminars. One is going to be on financial management, how to handle your money; one is going to be a mentoring workshop for men; another is going to be ‘Living holy in 2010’ for those who have some issues and concerns. We’re going to do a disaster training, including what you need to do to be prepared. There will be other seminars going on as well.

“This is just something fun to do. The kids will be out of school, and this is an opportunity to come out and get engaged so we can start fostering the concept of community service at an early age. To know that you’re doing something good, that gives you a good, warm feeling, and we need warm right now!”

Caldwell-Phillips said that there have been a number of fires in this area that has drained the relief fund before the fiscal year is half-over.

“We still have six months to go in our fiscal year,” she said. “We’ve pretty much exhausted what we’ve gotten from the Marengo County Commission. In order to have sufficiency for the next disaster, we’re going to have to do more fund-raisers.

“We plan on making this an annual event. We’re going to see how it goes, and we certainly hope that it will do well this year. Even if people don’t want to attend the event, they can come by and make a donation.”