Belmont-Watertown Hoop Shootout Raises Thousands for Imagine No Malaria

October 29, 2013

For the past 6 years, members of the Belmont-Watertown United Methodist Church in Belmont, MA have been working to eradicate malaria in Africa. There has been great progress so far. When the church's work first began, malarial deaths in Africa occurred every thirty seconds. The rate of death by malaria has now been cut in half – one death every minute. Although this is a great step in the right direction, there is much more work to be done. The church wants to see malaria completely eradicated.

Since its work to fight malaria began, the church has raised $20,000 through various methods.  The anchor of BWUMC's fund-raising is a Hoop Shootout in their gymnasium.  In the spring, members of the congregation collect pledges from other members, and from friends outside the church.  On the day of the Shootout, participants have two minutes to make as many free throws at the basket as they can. The shots of the participants are totaled and the pledges calculated.

Participation, not basket-shooting prowess, is what's important. Belmont-Watertown UMC has many youth and staff that sign up for the Hoop Shootout each Spring. Pledge sheets for the Shootout can be found around the church and even put out during coffee hour. The congregation knows to look for the pledge sheets at that time.

Belmont-Watertown UMC also invites other churches to take advantage of their gym and to send representatives to shoot baskets for their own fund-raising. One local church sent a single participant, who in two minutes alone raised over $1,200 for their mission to Imagine No Malaria.

The public is invited in to participate as well. Notices about the Hoop Shootout are placed in the local newspaper and signs are set up outside the church and nearby.  Walk-ins come to shoot baskets and make donations. Often a parent will bring children who shoot and then will make the pledge donations.

Belmont-Watertown UMC's Hoop Shootout is an exciting experience. There is music playing and a countdown for each participant. Rebounders can make the shooting easier.  BWUMC will be happy to consult with any church interested in developing a program. They offer a prerecorded timing CD that they will be happy to share as well as examples of their pledge forms for the contests.