LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The boys and girls all-star teams in the 9th annual Pineywoods Showdown are practicing hard, not for themselves but for four different charities in Angelina and Nacogdoches Counties.
The Christian Information Service Center, The Diboll Housing Authority Summer Enrichment Program, Glory Gang Ministries, and The Helping House are all being represented in the games. The charities for the winning teams will get the proceeds from the games.
CISC is located in downtown Lufkin and serves the residents in Angelina County who are in need of assistance when it comes to food. Pineywoods Community Academy's Coach Brian Kruk is leading the boys team. Kruk picked the charity after spending time at the facility.
"I see people that benefit from that resource all the time, and they really take the job serious and do a great service for our community," Kruk said.
CISC Director Yulonda Richard said the need in the community is great, and any help they can get is needed.
"We saw 1,000 people more this month then we did last month, and last month we saw 1,700 more, so it just keeps increasing, and yet we still have food for everyone," Richard said.
The Diboll Housing Authority is the other team selected to represent Angelina County.
"We keep our kids active and involved in the community," said Sarah Blount. "We do rely mostly on donations. Sometimes we do have fundraisers to help with the cost, but donations are very important."
The program takes kids to summer camps and to various locations on trips to the Houston area.
"I have a heart for kids, and you know in the summer time, a lot of our kids have nothing to do," said Coach Andrea Emmons.
The Nacogdoches boys team is playing for Helping House, a non-profit that helps children with autism.
"The general public doesn't know how expensive services are for families with autism, so any way we can offset the expense is wonderful," Amanda Johnson said. "The costs adds up. Everything from occupational therapy, speech therapy, doctor visits. All of those things add up."
Glory Gang ministries is also hoping to benefit from the game. The ministry helps students in Nacogdoches County through a faith-based program that does weekly services but also does backpack giveaways and camps for the students.
"A lot of our kids come from okay homes, but some of them have it pretty rough," Pastor Richard Wonderland said. "This year, I am hoping to take the money and use it for our camp."
The charity was an easy choice for the team.
"It's great just to see their eyes shine and the smiles that come on their faces," said Coach Dayna Westbrook.
The charities said the money is nice, but the exposure is what the games help with the most.
"We get a lot from the exposure because it puts our names out there," Johnson said.
The ninth annual KTRE Pineywoods Showdown takes place at Panther Gym at Lufkin Middle School on April 20. The girls game starts at 6 p.m. followed by the boys game.