Wood River United Methodist Church sponsored “Free Throws for Malaria” on Sunday, March 17, at the Wood River Rural High School. Over 60 people gathered to shoot hoops or cheer others on who were shooting hoops to raise money to stop the spread of malaria. Children from kindergarten through high school and adults competed in the “Free Throws for Malaria” contest. The categories for shooting hoops were K-2nd grade, 3rd-5th, 6th-8th, 9th-12th, and adults. Each contestant shot 25 free throws and asked donors to pledge. A total of $2,350 was collected in pledges and individual donations.
Hastings, Neb., area UMCs joined together March 24 for a Shoot for No Malaria event. Children and youth formed one team to compete against the adults from the participating churches. The first team to make more than 500 free throws won. The teams kept going to make sure over 1,000 free throws were made. Our goal was 1,000 made free throws, $1,000 and 100 bed nets. We raised more than $1650! The real winners were the families whose lives will be save because of the nets and work done through the Imagine No Malaria campaign.
More than 175 people had a great evening shooting free throws, eating, and watching NCAA tournament games. Other activities were available for smaller children including mosquito activity sheets and other basketball games. Door prizes included “Nothing But Net” T-shirts, cups of goodies and other items.
Participating churches were Juniata, Doniphan, Rosedale, Hastings First, Cristo Poder de Dios and Hastings Grace, where the event was held.
On April 14, First and Trinity United Methodist churches of Great Bend, Kan., sponsored the First Annual Shoot for No Malaria Free Throw Shootout in Great Bend. The event was open to shooters of all ages from the whole community.
With the help of the Barton County Community College women’s and men’s basketball teams and members of these two United Methodist congregations, more than $900 was raised for the Imagine No Malaria campaign.
Winners from each age categories from 3rd grade to over 60 were recognized with medals and certificates.
Drew Nicholson in 3/4th-grade boys made 24 out of 25 attempts, but admits that he is used to shooting from the regulation distance and height so the shortened shot made it “easy” for him.
In the young adult category (under 30) Kelly Curtis in the women’s category and Taylor Calcara in the men’s category each made 21 out of 25.
“I’m ok with that,” explained Calcara, “I didn’t play four years of college basketball [like Kelly].”
Rev. Lennie Maxwell, Great Bend First UMC, who only made 10 out of 25 to finish well down in his bracket and out of the medals explained, “At that rate I probably couldn’t make the WSU team but I could give the Bishop a run for the money.”
Terry Turner and Jann Sherman, First UMC, and Karla Essmiller, Trinity UMC, organized the event. All three agree it was a great success and hope for an even bigger turnout next time around. The organizers want to thank Great Bend High School for the use of the Panther Athletic Center and the Barton County Community College basketball coaches and players for all their help.
During half time of the McCook High School boys’ basketball game on Feb. 8, there was a free throw contest between a team led by Pastor Lance Clay and a team led by Associate Pastor Alisa Parde. McCook Memorial UMC members were challenged to purchase a bed net for $10 and guess who would be the winner of the best 10 out of 10 shots.
Parde’s team came out on top, making three out of 10 shots (all three were made by SPRC Chair Jeff Crick).
On April 7, Rossville (Kan.) United Methodist Church raised $700 for Imagine No Malaria at their chili supper and basketball game.
Approximately 90 people from the Rossville community participated in the event. People of all ages cheered at the game, which pitted adults against high school and college students. Mini basketballs were periodically tossed to the crowd during the game. At halftime, children of all ages received prizes for participating in free-throw shooting contests.
Earlier this year, Bishop Scott Jones challenged every church in the Great Plains Area to raise funds for the “Imagine No Malaria” campaign by the end of 2013. On Sunday, April 7, approximately 50 members of the Grace UMC in Crete, Neb., took up the Bishop’s challenge.
Following the 10:30 worship service, church members gathered at the Civic Center Armory in Crete for lunch, games, activities and basketball. Games and activities including face painting, ladder golf, a bean bag toss, children’s crafts, and a Nebraska trivia quiz. There were two small basketball hoops set up for children and one large hoop for youth and adults.
There was a one-hour open free throw contest in which church members had pledged to give money for every free throw that was made. Many attendees attempted the fast-paced free throw challenge including young children, seniors, and two pregnant women. Many throwing techniques were employed, such as the one-arm push, the two-arm push, the granny throw, and the proper free throw. With the rules loosely enforced, everyone had fun playing along.
Next came the pastor’s free throw contest in which the Rev. Mark M. Richardson attempted 100 free throws. Before a supportive, cheering crowd, Richardson made 25 successful throws out of his 100 attempts.
The final event of the day was the Muckel free throw challenge. In this challenge, members paid $2 to attempt 10 free throws against Doane College biology professor, Dr. Bob Muckel. Muckel made three successful throws out of his 10.
After expenses were paid, the Grace UMC “Imagine No Malaria” challenge raised roughly $2500. It also drew church members together for a fun time of fellowship and physical activity.
When Pastor Warren Schoming “shot” the idea to the Fairbury First United Methodist Church to have someone shoot 1,000 free throws (to help with the Bishop’s initiative of eradicating malaria in Africa,) he didn’t really expect anyone to rise to the challenge. It wasn’t long until the church’s youth group leader, Karen Horky, announced that her husband, Mike, would take up the challenge.
On the Wednesday of Holy Week, “Magic Mike,” as Pastor Schoming calls him, shot 1000 free throws at the high school gym. A group of 30 Fairbury UMC supporters gathered to cheer him on as the youth group rebounded the ball. After a two-hour clinic, Horky had shot 1000 free throws and made an impressive 833 baskets (that’s 83.3 percent). More than $500 was raised for this worthy cause.
Shoot for No Malaria was observed in Falls City, Neb., when Pastor Lyle Schoen attempted 100 free throws on Saturday, Feb. 23, in front of an audience of 11 members of Falls City First United Methodist Church.
The half page he had prepared for parishioners to submit donations to Imagine No Malaria invited $10.00 per guess of how many free throws he would make, with two additional lines. By adding $5, a person could check their prediction whether Pastor Schoen or Bishop Jones would shoot a better percentage of free throws. The form also offered a blank for adding a contribution to Imagine No Malaria.
On two of the return slips for donations an individual submitted their own, more generous, formula for a contribution which provided Schoen motivation to do well. When Schoen’s “official” 100 attempts began, he missed the first six. However, he had streaks of consecutively made free throws of eight, six, and five, finishing the 100 attempts by making five in a row. Total free throws made by Schoen was 53, equaling 53 percent, compared to the Bishop’s 36 percent.
With participation from Rulo Trinity, Falls City First and members of Rev. Schoen’s multi-church confirmation class, the total collected from the parish came to $510.
Gretna United Methodist’s Sr. High S.W.A.T. (Students Worshipping All Together) hosted its fourth annual “Buzz Off” dodgeball tournament Feb. 23. All proceeds go to Imagine No Malaria; a total of $424.68 was raised to help purchase mosquito nets and to educate those using them. Gretna UMC’s SWAT hopes that others will join in the cause and have those pesky mosquitoes “buzz off.”
Pastor Bruce Davis of Omaha St. Andrew’s UMC made 430 out of 1,000 free throws in three hours, on Wednesday, Feb. 20 and raised $3,000 for Imagine No Malaria. Davis donated five nets in the name of the person who came closest to guessing the number of shots he would convert. (One couple did guess correctly.)