On Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings, a group of Frisbee enthusiasts meets in Rockville’s Welsh Park for a game of Ultimate Frisbee.
This week, the Saturday game also was a fundraiser for Gaithersburg HELP, an organization that provides food, prescriptions, infant needs and transportation for people in an emergency situation in Gaithersburg.
Gaithersburg HELP president Sarah Scherschligt, a Frisbee player and pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Gaithersburg, said she came up with the idea of using the weekly game as a fundraiser.
“The executive board [of Gaithersburg HELP] is challenging each other to come up with a mini-walk,” she said. “As president, I thought I’d start by hosting one.”
Kim Gomboz of Rockville has been playing with the group for about six months. She said she was happy to be part of the mini-walk.
“I was really excited because I usually play for fun, but if I can help somebody else, that’s great,” she said.
A mini-walk can be any activity, said Janet Neumann, assistant director of Gaithersburg HELP, an all-volunteer organization.
“It can be a run, bowling, even playing Wii tennis. Any group of 15 people can participate and there is no minimum amount of money that needs to be raised,” she said.
Scherschligt said a mini-walk has to include at least 15 minutes of activity and 30 minutes of education about hunger and homelessness.
“The purpose is to get together and learn about homelessness. It is important for both the people who have the need and those who can help,” she said.
She met the education factor by posting sign boards along the sidelines of the Ultimate Frisbee field that told the story of one homeless woman who lost her job and could not afford rent so she lived in her car. The woman is working now but, earning minimum wage, still cannot afford housing for herself and her two dogs.
Scherschligt also posted statistics about homelessness in Montgomery County.
“On any given day, over 1,500 men, women and children are homeless in Montgomery County, and in the last year, over 4,500 men, women and children experienced homelessness in Montgomery County,” read one sign.
“Most people [in Montgomery County] are homeless because the cost of living is so high they can’t afford to pay rent,” Scherschligt said.
Before the opening throw of the game, players who were willing registered for the event. The cost was $30 for adults and $20 for those age 25 and younger.
Sheran Perena of Rockville said he is an Ultimate Frisbee player but never played with the Welsh Park group before.
“I was looking on Facebook and saw that it was for Gaithersburg HELP and thought it would be a good day to come,” he said.
His friend, Matt Coleman of Frederick, also was there for the first time and gave some pointers about the game of Ultimate Frisbee.
Usually there are seven players on each team and the goal is to throw the disk across the field to teammates, working towards an endzone. Catching the Frisbee in the other team’s end zone scores a point. Games usually play to 15 points and last about 90 minutes.
“This game does take talent, [especially] the technique of throwing, which some people are really good at,” Coleman said.
In all, about two dozen people donated to Saturday’s mini-walk, a $420 score for Gaithersburg HELP.
To learn about the work of Gaithersburg HELP, visit www.gaithersburghelp.org.
For information on holding a mini-walk, email Janet Neumann at email@example.com. Donations can be sent to 431 N. Frederick Ave. Suite 105, Gaithersburg, MD 20877.