The annual Redwood County Big Buddies Toss-a-Thon fundraiser is being held in Redwood Falls April 5 at the National Guard Armory. Mark Trefry, who serves as the Redwood County Big Buddies program coordinator, is encouraging the public to sign up to take part in the event.

“This is the fourth annual Toss-a-Thon,” said Trefry, adding each year the goal is to raise $10,000 to help enhance the programs and activities offered to those who are participating in Big Buddies.

According to Trefry, there are currently 50 youth from across Redwood County who are involved in the Big Buddies program, and throughout the year those Little Buddies, their families and Big Buddies mentors benefit from the funds which are raised through events like the Toss-a-Thon.

Those who plan to participate can sign up in teams of four to six for a one hour slot, with times available that Friday at 4:30, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.  Each individual who plans to take part in the Toss-a-Thon then raises funds through pledges received from family, friends, co-workers and other members of the community, said Trefry, adding all of the proceeds from the Toss-a-Thon are used in Redwood County.

As always, said Trefry, the local community has demonstrated its support for the program, with local businesses and organizations serving as sponsors for the event. In addition, a number of those businesses and organizations have also provide the door prizes that are awarded throughout the night.

Trefry said a number of good partnerships have developed since the program began, adding many from the Redwood Valley athletic program will form teams to take part in the Toss-a-Thon.

“The Redwood Valley athletic program has been a great supporter of the Toss-a-Thon,” said Trefry.

The event would not be possible without a number of individuals who show their support, added Trefry, including those who volunteer their time to set up for the event and who lend a hand while the event takes place.

The Redwood County Big Buddies program offers programming and activities for youth and their families ages five to 18, with one-on-one mentoring, after school activities and other events tailored to meet the needs and interests of those involved in Big Buddies.

Trefry said Big Buddies, which is under the umbrella of the United Community Action Partnership (UCAP), is about helping kids and their families, adding it works with other agencies and organizations to ensure those families have the resources they need.

The Big Buddies program partners with other organizations, such as Redwood County 4-H and Youth For Christ, in the community, and encourages those involved with Big Buddies to participate in their programs,too.

While the Big Buddies program focuses on providing assistance for local youth, Trefry said he also makes community involvement a priority, adding youth are involved in other programs, such as Share the Spirit and Coats for Kids, and each summer the Redwood County Big Buddies program works with the Redwood County recycling program and Farmfest to provide recycling services during farm show at Gilfillan.

“People appreciate the chance to be able to give back,” said Trefry, adding it is one more way people can connect with the community.

Trefry said the Big Buddies program is currently working with the Salvation Army to register youth for summer camps. Those who may be interested in sending a child to the Salvation Army summer camp program can find out more about it by contacting Trefry.

To learn more about the Redwood County Big Buddies program or to register your team for the upcoming Toss-a-Thon, contact Trefry by calling (507) 530-1202 or via e-mail at mark.trefry@unitedcapmn.org. During business hours, one may also stop by his office at 164 East Second Street in Redwood Falls.

The community is encouraged to take part in the Toss-a-Thon and the free bean bag tossing action, free food and door prizes.

To learn more about the United Community Action Partnership and its programs and re-sources, visit unitedcapmn.org.