Instant smash: Benefit Ping-Pong tourney Sunday

By JONATHAN McAFOOS

jsitler@timesobserver.com

First United Methodist Church will be holding a Ping-Pong tournament to benefit The Pittsburgh Project on Sunday, March 17, beginning at 2 p.m.

For a $10 fee, participants will be entered into both a singles and doubles tournament, with food being provided throughout the day and trophies being awarded to the winners. Spectators are also welcome to attend for a $2 fee.

This will be the second consecutive year the church has hosted the tournament, and event organizer Marlene Sandberg hopes this year will bring in twice as many people.

“Last year we raised about $500,” Sandberg said. “We had about 25 to 30 people and we should have double that amount this year. We’ve advertised at the schools and put up flyers at the Lakewood YMCA, and there are a couple of pretty active Ping-Pong groups there.”

The tournament was held on a Saturday last year, “and it was like 75 degrees,” fellow organizer Tawnie Betts said. “This year, it’s on a Sunday, so hopefully it won’t interfere with sports practices.”

The money will go entirely to The Pittsburgh Project – a Christian nonprofit community development organization that has been around for 25+ years, said Sandberg.

“It’s a neat way to raise money,” Sandberg said, “and the kids feel like they’re helping to raise it, not just asking for you to buy something.”

Despite the amount of people that may enter the tournament, there won’t be much standing around while waiting to play.

“The church has one table, we have a portable one, and we borrow two to three from the high school, so we have five tables going at once,” Sandberg said. “It was pretty active last year, but we got through it pretty quickly considering the amount of people.”

Sandberg originally came up with the idea for a Ping-Pong fundraiser several years ago as a fun way to raise money for a good cause.

“We did one about five years ago to raise money for tennis at the high school,” Sandberg said. “We had about eight tables going. You get so tired of selling stuff and asking if people want to buy stuff. This is something fun. Everybody loves Ping-Pong.”

Anybody interested in entering the tournament can reach Sandberg at 723-7087.