Every time we hear about a group that loves to play with a purpose, like raising money for a local food bank, we try to find out the back story. So when Pam Block emailed PickleballCentral for some support for their tournament last month, we contacted her and got the Pickleball North story. Enjoy reading about our newest All Heart Pickleball Award Winner!
The Pickleball North Pickleball Club in Pittsburgh, PA, has 140 people on their email list. They started with about 5 players in February, 2012. The group started playing in a local church and were given lessons by a teaching tennis pro. The oldest member, Ralph Young played all the time, even the week before he died. He was 86 years old. Pam Block is a former tennis player. She was invited to play the first time in April of that same year. Most members are retired, except her son, who plays when he visits from Washington, DC. Pam’s motto is: “When it stops being fun, I’m done!”
Pam is a pickleball scheduler for the club. She emails a weekly play schedule out to the membership. They play at a community center and 2 – 3 churches. They are growing pickleball and helping the community. That’s what sets their club apart. They are a welcoming and caring group. The fourth bi-annual tournament was held this year on October 28th. It was a fun day with lots of fun competition. This last tournament was sponsored by PickleballCentral and Gamma Sports. Thrivent Financial also gave them a grant of $250 that was used to buy lunch for participants and for the purchase of the tournament balls. Pam once received a jar of pickles as a grand prize, so that has become a Pickleball North tradition. They could have bought better prizes, but people preferred the money go to the Food Bank.
The Pickleball North Pickleball Club usually has two tournaments a year and the proceeds go to the North Hills Food Bank. They started in Spring of 2014. They have had 4 tournaments so far, and have collected $2,500 for the North Hills Food Bank. The North Hills Food Bank serves over 200 people a month and has been doing it for over 25 years. Most of the clients of the Food Bank live in Ross Township or in the town of Westview. Fees collected at the tournament go to the food bank. They play at the Ross Township Community Center. It is the biggest location and they are gracious and accommodating. They asked to use the facility for their tournament and the community center waived the use fee, so everything collected during the tournament goes to the food bank.
The Pickleball North Pickleball Club grows by word of mouth, by invitation and through advertising. The Pittsburg Tribune Review has run a couple of articles about pickleball in Pittsburgh:
Keep up the good “heart” work, Pickleball North! We look forward to hearing more good news about your community service next year!