Church hopes to raise money with hoops

Published 7:03 am Sunday, June 14, 2015

City of Grace Church is hosting a hoops tournament that will allow participants to show off their game while raising money for area children.

Starting at 9 a.m. on July 18 at Lipsey Middle School Gymnasium, teams of five will battle it out on the court. The Hoops-N-Haven tournament will be a five-on-five, single elimination event.

Hoops-N-Haven’s purpose is to raise money for the church’s Child 1st Project, which provides underprivileged children with materials for school, including supplies and clothes. The Child 1st Project is intertwined with the church’s Fresh Fire Revival, which City of Grace pastor Jerry Kelly said began around six years ago.

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“We wanted to show an effort from the church toward the youth,” Kelly said.

The revival service is held about a week or two before school starts and encourages members and attendees to bring school supplies to help children.

Money raised from the event will also go toward the Richardson, Dickey and Flowers 54442 Athletic Scholarship Fund that provides scholarships to graduating athletes from Brookhaven High and Loyd Star schools. Shaquan Richardson and Jevonta Dickey both died in a car crash. Peyton Flowers died after passing out during a football game.

Tournament teams can choose to play within three specified divisions. In the Old School versus New School women’s division, teams will be competing for a $350 first place cash prize.  New School category is open to women ages 24 and younger, while Old School is categorized as 25 and up.

The men’s division is split into a junior division for ages 11 to 14 and a senior division for ages 15 and older. Winners of the senior men’s division will receive a $500 prize and the first place team from the youth division will win a day trip to a surprise location.

Hoops-N-Haven will also include a slam dunk contest and three-point shoot out with an entrance fee of $3 per dunk attempt and $3 per three-point round.

Registration is $125 per team with the deadline to register being July 17.

Kelly said he’s wanted to host such a tournament since 2012 but was always hesitant. He said after hearing about the three young men who died, he prayed about what he and his church could do to help, and he revisited the tournament idea.

“What better way to bring everybody together than a sport that anyone who wants to play can,” Kelly said. “I thought it would be a real positive event to bring to the community.”

Kelly said he would like for the event to be a joint effort between the community, religious leaders, elected officials and other churches in the area. He encourages everyone to help with donations.

“However they feel they can help, we’d greatly appreciate it,” Kelly said.  Admission for spectators of the tournament will consist of a $2 donation and concessions will be available.

For more information about Church of Grace, Hoops-N-Haven, or how you can make a donation, contact J. Kelly Ministries at 216 Martin Luther King Drive in Brookhaven, or email or call 601-260-9029.