Freezing temperatures and snow on the ground will not stop Portage County residents from participating in a Snowball Softball Tournament this Sunday to raise money for the O'Neill family. The family lost everything, including three dogs, in a house fire Dec. 22.
The first teams will face off at 9 a.m. at John Tontimonia City Park in Ravenna, located at the intersection of Oakwood Street and West Highland Avenue.
"During this time of year, this is the best that we could do for a family in our community," said Kent Resident Joe Sidoti, who is in charge of the tournament.
Sidoti said some of his friends know the O'Neills and, since he knows a lot of people who play softball, he thought it would be a good opportunity to raise money for the family.
Six teams sponsored by local businesses will participate in the tournament. Each team has ten players, who will donate $10 to participate while the businesses donate $25 to sponsor them. One of the sponsors, Domino's Pizza in Ravenna, will also be offering free pizza during the tournament.
So far, Sidoti has found four sponsors including Penney's Auto Body Inc., Mimi's Italian Grill & Deli and Russell Cellular in Franklin Township, but is still looking for two more to participate.
Between donations and sponsors, Sidoti has already raised $700 but expects more on game day. He said a donation jar will be available and a 50/50 raffle will take place, with half of the donations going to the O'Neills.
Sidoti said people will also be bringing clothes and household items for the couple and their two-year-old daughter, who will be attending the tournament.
"Once everything is done we'll present everything to them," he said. "All the money we raise is going directly to the family."
A fund for the family is also set up at the Portage Community Bank, 1532 S. Water St., Kent. Those who wish to donate should ask for the O'Neill Fund.
Contact this reporter at 330-298-1123 or firstname.lastname@example.org