By LINDA M. LINONIS
Exercise (17 points) your vocabulary (20 points), have fun (6 points) and help a charitable (17 points) cause by competing in Protestant Family Service’s Scrabble Tournament.
The March 9 fundraiser for the social- service agency is the brainstorm of Jacqueline Burley, director. A self- described “Scrabble junkie,” Burley said she, staff members and volunteers often play at lunch time.
A fellow Scrabble enthusiast, Jeanne Cotters Monroe, PFS board member and volunteer and president of Church Women United, said ideas for fundraisers are discussed with many ideas suggested.
“I try to come up with creative fundraisers,” Burley said.
Scrabble was a big part of the Burley family game night. When her children were young, she saw it as a way to help them “learn to spell.”
Monroe said she views Scrabble as a way “to express (16 points) love of words, how to use strategy and share camaraderie.”
“Scrabble is exercise for the mind,” Burley said. “You learn new words and their meaning and increase your vocabulary.”
“It’s a social thing ... and friendly competition,” Monroe said.
Both women know a host of two-letter words like qu and ka that would expand anyone’s vocabulary. They have a Scrabble dictionary at the ready to prove a word’s validity.
The two hope the quest (14 points) to have fun spiced some friendly competition will attract participants to the fundraiser. Players must be 15 years or older. Burley said they plan on 16 tables with four players at each. “The highest scoring player will advance and play against other high scorers,” Burley said.
Burley and Monroe said there will be a range of prizes including highest score, highest word score and a grand prize winner. Among prizes are Scrabble-related items.
Though the Scrabble Tournament is for fun and fundraising, it’s driven by a serious purpose. The funds help the agency fulfill its vision statement, “PFS seeks to provide, in a Christian manner, the necessary care and needs to the individual that will give hope for a better life.”
Burley delivered her report on 2012 services during the organization’s annual meeting Monday at Tabernacle Baptist Church. The agency operates on donations of pantry and personal items from individuals, organizations and churches and financial gifts.
The PFS budget for 2013 is $99,750; 2012’s was $99,900.
Last year, PFS helped 930 families who had emergency needs. These included food, restoration or prevention of shut-off of utilities, life-sustaining medications, security deposits, rent to prevent eviction and furniture and appliances.
Burley said last year PFS received an $11,000 grant from the Episcopal Diocese in Cleveland; the agency is applying to renew the grant.
Burley also said PFS conducted its Christmas adopt-a-family program that helped 71 families with 162 children; food and gifts were distributed. Christmas gifts also went to 20 preschool special-needs classrooms, 19 families and four speech pathologists in Youngstown through its adopt-a-school program.
Thanksgiving and Easter food distributions went to 13 families.
Burley said donations of food and money during March and April will be matched by Alan Shawn Feinstein’s giveaway to fight hunger. Feinstein will award agencies funds proportionate to the amount that each agency receives. The Youngstown Foundation provides a 5 percent match for any gift of $100 or more to PFS. Send checks, with PFS in the memo line, to Youngstown Foundation, P.O. Box 1162, Youngstown, Oio 44503.
Other PFS fundraisers throughout the year include concerts, a spaghetti dinner, Macy’s shop for a cause, style show and feast of salads.