Tennis tournament to help kids in need

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A nonprofit organization in Gainesville will give local residents the chance to kick off the new year supporting children and families in need by competing in a tennis tournament.

The entry deadline is Jan. 6 for the Jan. 7-9 tournament being put on by Caleb’s Pitch at Jonesville Tennis Center, 14080 NW 32nd Ave., west of Gainesville.

Caleb’s Pitch is a non-profit organization started about a year ago by a UF faculty member in memory of his nephew, Caleb, who died of cancer in 2006 at 8 years old.

The organization grants experiences with UF athletic teams for medically ill children, provides monthly meals for the Gainesville Ronald McDonald House and the opportunity to create paintings by syringe art for children who are patients at Shands.

The tennis tournament is open to players of all skill levels and will include singles, doubles, parent-child and mixed divisions.

There also will be the opportunity to play in ping-pong and beach tennis tournaments.

For those who want to help support the cause but do not play tennis, there will be grilled food available at the event as well as a bake sale, raffle and potential silent auction.

Last year’s event was a big success. Although the organization was in its beginning stages, the $2,000 raised through the tournament was able to fund the majority of the experiences Caleb’s Pitch provided throughout this past year.

There were 10 athletic experiences provided for medically ill children that included making memories with the football, basketball, baseball and gymnastics teams at UF.

Caleb’s Pitch also provided three syringe art events at Shands and 11 home-cooked meals at the Ronald McDonald House in Gainesville.