RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
PDT Staff Writer
After a brief delay for rainy weather, the 6th Annual Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund Tennis Tournament kicked off Saturday at the Steven A. Hunter Tennis Center at Portsmouth High School and the William Daehler Tennis Center at Shawnee State University.
The Hope Fund is named for Steven A. Hunter; a Portsmouth High School graduate who passed away suddenly in 2006 while attending Milligan Christian College in eastern Tennessee.
“Steven loved tennis. He was a great little tennis player. What he lacked in ability, he made up for with enthusiasm and hustle, so it just seemed natural to have a tennis fundraiser,” said Steven’s father Mark Hunter.
Proceeds from the tennis tournament will benefit the Hope Fund to help support students at the Portsmouth City Schools who are financially disadvantaged by providing clothing, shoes, field trip/excursion fees, dental and vision exams, scholarship assistance, and many other goods and services through the endowment fund at the Scioto Foundation.
The Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund provides fund raising activities and provides additional services directly including Steven’s Power Pack Program. Steven’s Power Pack provides food on the weekends for hungry children in Portsmouth, East Portsmouth, New Boston, and Northwest schools — and soon will be adding West and Valley schools.
“A lot of people I think are shocked to find that one in three children in Scioto County are food insecure,” Mark Hunter said. “The Power Pack Program is basically a safety net, designed to pick up the most desperately hungry children. The number of kids in the county on free and reduced lunches is thousands and thousands. We’re there just to get the ones we know are going hungry on the weekend.”
With 29 teams registered this year, Hunter said the tennis tournament has raised nearly $13,000 for the backpack program. This is a big increase from the first year, when the tournament raised just $2,500.
“God has blessed us so much in the way we’ve been able to increase. When we started the food program in January of 2010 in the Portsmouth system, there’s no way we would have thought we’d be able to be in five school systems in just a little over two-and-a-half years,” Hunter said.
For more information about the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund, visit online at www.stevenshopefund.org.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or firstname.lastname@example.org.