SoCon basketball tournament announces community outreach plans

Press release from the Southern Conference:

The Southern Conference and the Asheville-Buncombe Regional Sports Commission announced today the final lineup for the community outreach efforts associated with the upcoming 2020 Ingles SoCon Basketball Championships presented by General Shale, which will take place Thursday-Monday, March 5-9, in Asheville. The tournament, which will be played for the ninth consecutive year in Asheville at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville, will support a number of programs aimed at providing individuals and groups in the Western North Carolina area with assistance and allowing them to attend designated sessions of the tournament free of charge. These efforts will include the following:

Education Days (Thursday, March 5, and Friday, March 6)
Children from Buncombe County Schools, Asheville City Schools and other area school districts will attend either the Thursday, March 5, or Friday, March 6, women’s session free of charge through the tournament’s Education Days initiative. The children will each receive a free gift courtesy of Ingles Markets.

Downtown Dribble and KidsFest presented by Champion Credit Union (Saturday, March 7, 9-11 a.m. at Pack Square)
Downtown Dribble and KidsFest will take place beginning in Pack Square in downtown Asheville from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 7. The Square will be filled with interactive games, as well as cheerleaders, bands and mascots. Children attending the event will be given a free basketball and T-shirt and a wristband allowing them free admission to the men’s session beginning at noon that same day. The event will culminate with a dribble parade from Pack Square and end at Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville. The Downtown Dribble and KidsFest is presented by Champion Credit Union.

SoCon Morning/Afternoon Out (Saturday, March 7)
The Southern Conference, working through the Asheville Police Department and the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department, will provide a morning and afternoon out for select elementary school aged children on Saturday, March 7. The children will attend the Downtown Dribble and KidsFest on Saturday morning, as well as attend the afternoon men’s session at Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville. The kids will be treated to a pizza party and receive free apparel courtesy of the Western North Carolina Children’s Fund and adidas.

Teddy Bear Toss (Sunday, March 8)
Those attending the 4 p.m. game on Sunday, March 8, will have the opportunity to make a donation to the Mountain Child Advocacy Center in order to receive a stuffed teddy bear. At halftime of the game, the bears will be thrown onto the playing court and donated to be used as comfort bears for children at the Mission Children’s Hospital and by local law enforcement agencies.

Hometown Heroes Night (Monday, March 9)
Members of the military, fire, police, emergency and medical services, charitable organizations and civil service employees will be afforded an opportunity to attend the men’s championship game free of charge on Monday, March 9, at 7 p.m., as part of Hometown Heroes Night sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western North Carolina, Duke Energy and Hedrick Industries.

Hoops Against Hunger
The Southern Conference and Eblen Charities will team up throughout the championships to provide awareness and to help combat childhood hunger through the Hoops Against Hunger program. An information booth will be set up at Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville to provide information about childhood hunger and to accept cash or food donations. The Hoops Against Hunger Hotel Challenge will take place during the tournament at local hotels. Each hotel will have a collection bin in its lobby and will encourage staff and guests to donate to the bin. Two winners of the Challenge will selected – the hotel that collects the most food in overall weight and the hotel that collects the most food in weight per room capita. The winners of the challenge will receive an award at halftime of the men’s championship game on Monday, March 9. Awareness of the Hoops Against Hunger program will also be provided through the Hoops Against Hunger Relay Challenge during halftime of each tournament game and by the team coaching staffs wearing Hoops Against Hunger lapel pins.

Wounded Warrior Project
A number of military veterans will be recognized at halftimes and timeouts during the championships through the Wounded Warrior Project.

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