Special to Iredell Free News

Iredell Christian Ministries will present its inaugural Hunger Games Pickleball Tournament on Saturday, June 8, at Caldwell Park and the Statesville Country Club.

Players can compete at either the Beginners, Intermediate, or Advanced level with first-place prizes awarded in each division. Play will begin at 9 a.m.

ICM took root in conversations among local church leaders in 2005-2006, when they noticed an increase in the number of individuals coming directly to church offices requesting food, clothing, and financial assistance for shelter, transportation, utility bills and medications. Realizing that churches and agencies in the area could not keep up with the need, these leaders began working together to develop a way that they could consolidate services and funds to meet the needs of Iredell County.

The result was a volunteer-run organization that works with families on a one-on-one basis, assisting with crisis needs as well as long term needs. By drawing volunteers from 15 congregations and the community at large, and by developing relationships with the Second Harvest Food Bank of NW North Carolina and local grocery stores, and by securing monetary donations from concerned citizens, ICM opened its doors in 2007.

Established with a goal of assisting 100 families a month, Iredell Christian Ministries now serves close to 800 families per month with food and financial assistance from its location at 752 Old Salisbury Road in Statesville. Volunteers and clients shop for food during a regular distribution day. On average, 50 families visit ICM daily, meaning that ICM sends food home for 150 individuals every day. Executive Director Joy Morrison and a small paid staff support volunteers who interview and serve clients four days a week.

The idea for a pickleball tournament arose a few years ago as a way to raise money for and awareness of the mission of ICM while sharing fun and fellowship. It is hoped that the “Hunger Games” reference will catch the eye of a younger generation while reminding everyone of the reason for the event. Players can enjoy friendly competition and spectators can visit food trucks and cheer on their friends.

SPONSORS

Randy Marion Automotive Group is sponsoring the tournament, with Iredell Health System serving as co-sponsor. Other sponsors include Alan J. Carpenter, PA.

REGISTRATION

Registration for the tournament is open on the ICM website at Iredellcm.org.

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