kickball action

United Way of Coastal Georgia campaign and marketing manager Kelley Spaeder plays catcher as Rich’s employees Wes Morris, left, and Max Nudelman practice kickball at Mallery Park in preperation for the upcoming kickball tournament to benefit United Way.

Bobby Haven/The Brunswick News

When it comes to raising money for causes, there are a few tried and true methods. There’s the good ol’ lemonade stand. There’s the ever-popular bake sale and, of course, we can’t forget the standard raffle.

While all are A-OK ways to raise funds for charity, they have been done a time or two — or 20. That is why those looking to give back try to find new ways to engage the community to fill the coffers.

For Kelley Spaeder, creative concepts for fundraising are critical. As the spokesperson for United Way of Coastal Georgia, she said local businesses have to be rather crafty when it comes to participating in the annual campaign that raises money for the umbrella charity organization’s mission.

“We really rely on creative ideas to help us move forward and toward our goal of $1 million,” Spaeder said. “We are out there doing the best we can ... we know that this is a great time of need. We need to support each other.”

That is the mission of the United Way. The umbrella charity raises money for dozens of agencies in Glynn and McIntosh counties, and recruits area individuals, as well as businesses to help fulfill that vision.

One of the companies that Spaeder said always answers the call is Rich Products. The local business, which produces frozen seafood dishes for national distribution, can always be found helping out with causes. And the United Way campaign is always a big one.

But this year, Max Nudelman, Rich’s United Way workplace campaign coordinator, hopes to switch up the routine. Rather than just asking employees to engage in the workplace effort, he wanted to engage the entire community.

“We were looking at how to run our campaign. In years past, we have just kept it here in our office and at our plant in Brunswick. This year we decided to do more for United Way,” he said.

“We wanted to try to involved the community as well,” she said. “We had talked before about starting a kickball league so we thought why not do a kickball tournament for the United Way?”

That is precisely what they did. They started forming teams and encouraging other businesses to do the same. Rich’s invited individuals to join the cause as well.

“We thought it might be something fun. There are plenty of 5Ks (races) in Glynn County this time of year so this was a different way to get in some physical activity as well as more community involvement,” Nudelman said. “Of course, the goal is to make money for the United Way.”

They put out the call and have had a solid response for the Oct. 21 event. In addition to having the tournament, which will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Mallery Park on St. Simons Island, there will be vendors selling concessions.

“We are fortunate that so many people have agreed to donate their time and their food and drinks so that everything goes to the United Way ... all of the proceeds will go to them,” he said.

As far as teams, Nudelman said they are still accepting new participants. For $25 per person, teams can sign up. In addition to friendly competition, they will get goody bags and uniforms.

“Those have been donated, too, so that all of those proceeds can go to the United Way,” he said.

In addition to team openings, Nudelman says that sponsorship opportunities are still available for teams.

“Not only are we still looking for involvement in terms of teams and participants, but we are looking for any businesses who would like to sponsor the event. They will get their logo on uniforms or sponsor teams who can’t afford it on their own,” Nudelman said.

Spaeder is excited about the effort and the chance to get the campaign, which began last month, really rolling with a fun, family-friendly activity. She is hopeful that others will follow suit with creative fundraising ideas in the future.

“Our campaign really relies heavily on workplace giving. We rely on them to be creative. This kickball tournament is very creative and fun. It will be great to have that community spirit too,” she said.

“We’re so excited and we are hoping get more community spirit and involvement from fellow workplaces and we hope that more people will join in the tournament.”