BENNINGTON — For the program's largest annual fundraising event, community members flooded Bennington Lanes on Saturday to benefit the county's Big Brothers Big Sisters.
The alley has hosted the event since 1988, and this year it was full of prizes including a 50/50 raffle, wheel prizes, a silent auction, a chance to win a Fitbit Charge HR and a 40 inch Samsung Smart TV. Auction contributions consisted of local photography, an Herbalife wellness basket, an Anytime Fitness gift card and gear valued at $175, The Mountain Goat Snow Surfer board, a Seventh Generation house cleaning basket, a Home Goods package, a day trip to Boston for a Red Sox game, $200 lift tickets to Stratton mountain and many more.
In 2014 the event raised $40,000 and last year a $50,000 goal was set.
Retha Charette could be seen walking around in a bowling ball costume. She has recently become the new program coordinator of Big Brothers Big Sisters after being a mentor herself. Kara Reima was the previous coordinator.
"I've been a part of it since October," Charette said. "It's a great program and without the support of the community we wouldn't be able to run it. I see the change in my little sister and the small changes we make can make a big difference."
The Bank of Bennington has been the Bowl for Kids' Sake main sponsor for six years now. There were also four patron sponsors: Spiral Press Cafe in Manchester, Carbone cars, Sovernet Communications and The Berkshire Bank.
At the head of each team's lane sat a decorated bowling pin crafted by participants of Big Brothers Big Sisters. There were six waves throughout the day from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free hot dogs, soda and popcorn was also provided.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is operated under United Counseling Services. The Executive Director, Ralph Provenza, said the fundraiser is the program's largest revenue source.
"I bowl once a year for 28 years. My team is the Cambridge Crushers," he said. "It's great fun and energy on a great day for a good cause."
Signs on various tables read #BowlForKidsSakeVT for participants to post photos to twitter with the hashtag. Radio stations WEQX 102.7 and WBTN 1370 AM were present as well and broadcast updates from the event.
—Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.