Saturday, August 15 at Sawgrass Lanes

Hotspots Exclusive Interview

Poverello has worked with people living with HIV and AIDS for nearly three decades in Broward County. Their food pantry, one of the largest in the country, gave away nearly 1.5 million meals to people impacted by HIV and AIDS. Their signature fundraising event, Bowling to Fight PoverrelloBowling_logoHunger, is celebrating a milestone of its own this year.

The 25th annual event hopes to raise $75,000 for their food pantry through donations, raffle ticket sales and silent auction bids, and will double as a canned food drive as well. It is one of the most popular charity events on the South Florida social calendar, and it’s one that many groups and organizations are proud to support, including us here at Hotspots Media Group.

The 25th annual Bowling to Fight Hunger will be held on Saturday, August 15 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Sawgrass Lanes (8501 N. University Dr., Tamarac). Last year’s event filled up quickly, so it’s important that if you’d like to participate as a bowler (teams can field a maximum of five participants), you need to register online right away at poverello.org. Sponsorship opportunities are available as well, ranging from levels between $400 and $7,500. If you are interested in sponsoring this event, call (954) 561-3663. 

PoverelloBowling_Kevin-ClevengerI interviewed Kevin J. Clevenger, events coordinator at Poverello, about this event and the work Poverello does for people living with HIV and AIDS in Broward County in this exclusive Hotspots interview.

How excited are you to be putting on the 25th annual Bowling to Fight Hunger event?

We’re very excited. We’ve made such great progress already. The sponsors have been coming in left and right, the support is so huge, and for the 25th anniversary we’re going to make it special with a theme of “rock ‘n’ glow bowl.”

Tell us about the theme.

They’re going to turn off all the lights on the lanes and they’re going to have spotlights that move around across the lanes, set to music. They’re also going to be bringing down giant projector screens and they will be playing videos throughout the day. We’re also going to give out glow necklaces and things like that to everyone.

How heartwarming is it for you to see how attached South Florida is to this event?PoverrelloBowling_copy3

The support is overwhelming. I see the donations come in each and every day and it’s amazing to see how much support and love we get from our community. The sponsors were so willing to come in and support this event. We just did an interview a couple of weeks ago with the Sun-Sentinel, and almost all of our sponsors attended an event and they were featured in the society beat.

Everyone knows about the Poverello food pantry, but Poverello offers so many other services too. Can you tell us a little more about those services?

We have the Poverello Live Well Center, and that’s in a separate building from the food pantry, and that is a full-service gym that is available to all of our clients. You don’t have to be a food PoverrelloBowling_copy2pantry client to utilize the gym. We also offer chiropractic therapy, massage therapy, and acupuncture, all free to our clients, as well as a smoking cessation class. That class will start in the month of August. We also have a thrift store on Dixie Highway and we’re working on opening a second one in Pompano Beach on Powerline and Atlantic, and we’re hoping to have that open by the end of the year.

How can people take part in this event, and if people can’t attend, how can they support Poverello in other ways?

In addition to bowling in the event itself, we’re asking for people to bring canned goods for the PoverrelloBowling_copy1food pantry, which people can drop off at Sidelines before the party bus departs for the bowling alley. They’ll get a raffle ticket when they donate. For people who can’t attend, they can register online to be a “virtual bowler.” They can post on social media, or e-mail their friends and family, and collect donations for Poverello that way. The top virtual bowler will receive a $50 Dunkin Donuts gift card. They can also volunteer at our center, help with some of our other fundraising events, and donate items to our thrift store.

As events coordinator, what does the Bowling to Fight Hunger event mean to you?

Last year was the first time I participated and I was just blown away by how fun the event was and how much people enjoyed themselves. You don’t have to be a professional bowler to participate; it’s all about having fun. I had so much fun that now I’m working for Poverello! It means the world to me that I have a job that I love.

To find out more about Bowling to Fight Hunger, as well as Poverello and its multitude of services, visit their website at poverello.org.

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Mike Halterman
Mike Halterman has been the editor of Hotspots Central since its launch in July 2016. He joined the Hotspots Media Group family as editor of Hotspots' South Florida magazine in June 2013. A former "40 Under 40" honoree in The Advocate magazine, Mike lives in the Tampa Bay area.