It must have been a little painful for Jim Donnelly to watch the 40 bowlers on his Hibernian Hunger Project league roll games with scores that might be great out on the gold course, but in a bowling alley. . .not so much.
“They ain’t the greatest bowlers,” deadpanned Donnelly, the bowling team coach at Father Judge High School, “but. . . “
But, over the past 12 weeks, these bowlers, dropping $5 into the kitty every Tuesday night at Thunderbird Lanes in the Northeast, have raised about $2,500 for the Hibernian Hunger Project (HHP), a program that feeds thousands of needy people in the Philadelphia area and, since it’s been adopted as an official charity of the national Ancient Order of Hibernians, tens of thousands around the country.
Founded in 2000 by former AOH Div. 87 President Bob Gessler, the program delivers food—usually packaged meals prepared fresh by volunteers during the annual “Cook-in”—to senior centers, homeless shelters, churches, and service agencies such as Aid for Friends which provides meals to the elderly and shut-ins.
“The bowling league is illustrative of what we envision the Hibernian Hunger Project to be,” says Gessler. “Jim Donnelly on his own initiative decided that he could combine fun with helping others. He had a great idea, put it out there and like-minded people joined together and made a real difference. That is the HHP, the power of people joining together to help those in need.”
We went out to Thunderbird Lanes this week and saw what it looks like when you combine fun with helping others.