Outdoor Friends Forever banquet raises $25,000Published 5:49pm Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Outdoor Friends Forever raised more than $25,000 at its banquet and fundraiser last Thursday night.
Jim Hardy, founder of OFF, said that this year’s banquet was a huge success.
“We typically pull in $15,000 to $20,000,” Hardy said. “This is the best banquet we have ever had.”
Hardy said that the organization does other smaller fundraisers throughout the year and gets private donations, but the annual banquet is OFF’s biggest way to raise money.
That $25,000, Hardy said, will go a long way. OFF is a 100 percent non-profit, and Hardy said he doesn’t even get gas expenses for any events.
“The money that is raised goes 100 percent back to the kids – no employees or anyone else takes a dime from that,” Hardy said. “
The money will be used for various events throughout the year. One thing that makes OFF special is children leave many events with more than just memories.
“Our whole mission is to pair people with special needs with people with special talents,” Hardy said. “Not only are their needs physical, but a lot of times that creates a financial need as well. It pays for our events where we host everything and allows us to pay everything for the children and their families.”
Hardy used a recent example of a school in Pehlam that wanted to take its children to OFF’s stocked pond.
“We will offer it at no cost to them – all they have to do is get the children here,” Hardy said. “We know they don’t have their own tackle box, fishing rod and lure, so we make sure they get one.”
The children get to keep the equipment, Hardy said. On other occasions, such as hunting trips, children might leave with socks, camouflage or other goods.
Hardy said he just wants to keep getting the organization’s message out. Though he doesn’t make a dime off the time he volunteers, he said the group pays dividends in other ways – a fact that keeps volunteers coming back.
“I just want everyone to get the same enjoyment out of helping children that I do,” Hardy said.
Fore more information on OFF, visit their website at www.outdoorfriendsforever.org.