League needs funding push

Published 12:03 am Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fundraising for Project Miracle Team is less than half way to its $450,000 goal, organizers said Wednesday.

Dwight Mikel, team chairman, said approximately $170,000 is committed to constructing a Miracle League field and playground at Johnson Park.

Miracle League removes the barriers that keep children with mental and physical disabilities off the baseball field and lets them experience America’s favorite pastime. Children play on custom-designed, rubberized turf fields that accommodate wheelchairs and other assertive devices. The league uses a “buddy” system, pairing each player with an able-bodied peer. More than 500 potential Miracle League players have been identified in Covington County.

The push began in April when hundreds of residents received personal letters from members of a Project Miracle Team, asking them to pledge $10 a month to the Miracle League of Covington County for five years. Local governments, including those on a municipal and county level, have pledged funds.

“We’re nearing the end of what we said would be the fundraising push,” Mikel said. “We said April through the end of June, and that’s because July 1, we have to place our order to have the field by Labor Day in August.”

Mikel said the funds on hand will be used to purchase equipment for the field and special needs playground.

“This amount, the one we have at the end of the month, that’s what we will use to start,” he said. “But don’t think that we won’t continue to accept donations. We will. We still must meet that $450,000 goal.

“If you don’t receive a letter, don’t think we don’t need your support,” Mikel said. “You can contact Barbara (Tyler at the city) or myself, or send a contribution.”

The Project Miracle team will soon begin a second round of pledge letters, as well as host a variety of upcoming events – including next Saturday’s Hit-A-Thon, he said.

The competition will be held on June 30 at 9 a.m. at Johnson Park for boys and girls in the following three categories: age 6 and under, age 8 and under and age 12 and under. For more information about the Hit-A-Thon or to get pledge sheets, call Dana Barefoot at 334-504-3983.

The Project Miracle Team is partnering with the Andalusia Rotary Club Foundation for the fundraising effort. Contributions to the Miracle League of Covington County can be sent to the Andalusia Rotary Foundation, P.O. Box 1971, Andalusia, AL 36420.