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Crossing goal line helps area’s needy

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A local pastor hopes to score a donation for his charity each time an NFL player crosses the goal line this season.

The Rev. Mike Hancock has created the Touchdown Challenge to raise money to feed and clothe the area’s needy through The Stafford Hope Center. He hopes participants will give when their favorite NFL team scores.

The nonprofit Hope Center has given away 27,000 pieces of clothing in the past three years and 81 tons of food to people in need from Fredericksburg and the five surrounding counties. About 250 families come to the small center for help each month, Hancock said.

The center opened in 2010 as an outreach of Hope Chapel, a small Stafford congregation of The International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. Hancock, a retired Marine, opened the center before the congregation had its own place to worship.

As soon as the center opened on Bells Hill Road near Stafford Courthouse, people started coming for help.

The center’s volunteers have hosted weekly soup kitchens, annual clothing giveaways and a food pantry, but Hancock said funding the efforts has been a constant struggle.

He was trying to think of a novel fundraiser when he stumbled on the idea of the Touchdown Challenge.

Challenge participants pledge $1 per touchdown during regular- and postseason football games. So, if a participant’s team scores 38 touchdowns, the center will send a pledge request for $38 at the end of the season.

“I anticipate the average person donating anywhere from $45 to $60 based on the number of touchdowns by their favorite team,” he said. “By not asking for a ton of money, I felt I would get more participation and opportunity for people to get involved than asking for a large chunk of money.”

To participate in the Touchdown Challenge, go online to thctouchdownchallenge.org.

Amy Umble: 540/735-1973

aumble@freelancestar.com

WANT TO HELP?

The Stafford Hope Center has been getting requests for school supplies this month. So the nonprofit is also seeking donations of new school supplies for families in need. Drop off donations to the center at 32 Bells Hill Rd. in Stafford County.

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