Four local nonprofits are the recipients of a combined $45,422.04 donation from the Wind Creek Atmore (WCA) Ticket In Ticket Out (TITO) program.
Monroe County High School (MCHS), Conecuh County Junior High School (CCJH), Uriah Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) and Spanish Forts Sports Association (SFSA) have big plans for the funds they received on Friday, September 15.
WCA Property Manager Tim Ramer and Assistant Property Manager Terri Morris presented the checks.
“With TITO we put donation boxes around the property and give guests the opportunity to donate to a different nonprofit group each month,” Ramer said.
The donations can include cash as well as unwanted cash-out tickets from guests. While the tickets are typically worth a few cents each, it all adds up to thousands of dollars local groups can use to make a difference.
Principal Maurice Woods of MCHS accepted $10,341.90 for his school. He plans to use the donation to improve security measures on his campus and to fund athletic programs.
“Most of our revenue for athletic programs is from ticket sales, so the money is just not always there for what it costs to upkeep the facilities and grounds,” Woods said. “Now we will be able to enhance those things and actually use it for our children to give them a sense of pride…”
CCJH Principal Peggy Baggett has a similar need for her school’s $11,276.90 donation. Baggett was brought to tears at sight of the donation amount.“I’m a product of Conecuh Country … [for me] education was, and I still believe it is, the golden ticket. We receive money from different programs that is earmarked and has to be spent a certain way,” Baggett said. “… we never have enough money for technology and then our athletic program does not get what it needs …”
Basketball coach Gregory Turner agreed.
“It will give them a sense of pride because they’ve never had anything,” Turner said. “Our jerseys for basketball girls and boys are two different colors. This will help us get the same color uniforms, same shoes … now we are at a place where we can have pride.”
Spanish Fort Sports Association is keenly aware of how valuable sports programs are.
SFSA President Leigh Walker pointed out, “Youth sports make a difference because not only are your kids active and exercising, it creates teamwork, sportsmanship and character … It gives [kids] something to be involved in – a purpose.”
SFSA received $12,606.07 and plans to purchase equipment and pay registration fees for kids who aren’t financially able. In addition to wrestling and basketball, SFSA offers football, cheer, baseball and softball. They are working to start a soccer program. Currently, over 700 kids ages 4-15 play sports through SFSA.
“A wrestling mat is $8,000,” Walker said. “I didn’t know how much basketballs cost until I started buying them … We are so excited y’all made this happen for us!”
The final recipient of TITO funding was Uriah Volunteer Fire Department. The organization received $11,197.17 and has big plans in mind. Darrell Hollinger said the group would like to make a bigger impact in the area.
“Uriah is growing … We want to try to build another fire station so we have two,” Hollinger said.
Right now, the group operates with one station and about 20 dedicated volunteers. With a new station in discussion, the group also has an urgent need for updated equipment. Hollinger said part of this funding will purchase new air packs so they will be able to confidently enter burning structures and save lives.
For each of the TITO recipients, funding will truly make a difference.
Ramer closed the presentations with a word of appreciation.
“We had no idea when we started this program that we would be giving 10, 11, 12 thousand dollar checks each month. It’s just a way for Wind Creek as well as our guests to be able to say thank you to educators and thank you to community volunteers.”