LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)-In a race against the clock teams of four shoot as many hoops as they can in five minutes. It’s a once in lifetime opportunity for any young Cats fan.
14-year-old Xander Terr says, “‘Cause it’s Rupp arena’s court and that’s my dream to shoot on, the Wildcats’ court.”
But they’re not competing just for the fun, kids like Xander Terry are raising money for the Hope Center, which houses about 800 people coping with homelessness, drug addiction, and mental illness every day.
Carrie Thayer, Director of Development at the Hope Center says, “They understand that homelessness and addiction and mental illness are affecting all of us. It affects all of us in Lexington and we do all need to come together and help those that have hit their bottom and have no one left to turn to.”
The Hope Center says going into the colder winter months fundraisers like this one help give it an added boost when the demand for those seeking shelter tends to go up.
Thayer says, “We do see a large increase in the men staying in our emergency shelter. So the emergency shelter holds by itself about 200 each night and when it gets colder we can go up to 250.”
Xander’s team raised the most money out of everyone on the court, more than a thousand dollars selling cookies.
He says they did it “…to show and inspire people that you can do anything you set your mind to.”
And they’re support means the world to other participants like Chris Cox who was once homeless and dealing with drug and alcohol addiction. But Chris says he was given a second chance after seeking treatment at the Hope Center.
Cox says, “Seeing, you know, eyes opening, you know, to the situation at hand…that it’s more than just laziness or ignorance like ‘he’s stupid to get a job’ like it’s deeper than that. And to see the younger generation, you know, realize that and to see there parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles to instill that in them…it’s powerful.”
Over the past three years the “Hoops for Hope” fundraiser has raised about $65,000 to help the homeless and addicted rebuild their lives. At tonight’s event they planned to raise $25,000 to upwards of $30,000 or more.