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Surprised US Open Tennis Prize Winners, Meals of Hope from USTA Florida Section Foundation

December 10, 2012 01:24 PM
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Former US Open Experience winner Cindy Harkins at the US Open
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USTA Florida volunteers at the Meals of Hope event
The winners of the 2013 US Open Experience Fundraiser, which benefits the USTA Florida Section Foundation, were announced on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, following a "Meals of Hope" charity event at the USTA Florida Annual Meeting and awards weekend, held at the Hyatt Grand Cypress in Orlando, Fla.
 
Raising funds for community tennis programs that assist youth, special-needs children, and building/renovating tennis courts across Florida, the 2013 US Open Experience Fundraiser awarded one Grand Prize winner, along with second and third place prizes.
 
A surprised Marcela Calderale of Weston, Fla., won the Grand Prize of a trip for two to the 2013 US Open, including two (2) tickets to the USTA President's Box, round-trip domestic airfare for two (2) to New York and two (2) nights hotel accommodation, complimentary US Open Bus transportation to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, lunch in the USTA President's Dining Room, hospitality in the President's Suite, and access to courtside seating in Louis Armstrong Stadium, as well as Grandstand and all other courts.
 
"This is the first time I ever won a raffle in my whole life!" Calderale said. "When I got the call and I was told that I had won the raffle to go to the US Open, I was in shock. I think I screamed, 'I won the US Open raffle!' like two million times that night!"
 
Coincidentally it was just last year that Calderale and her husband attended their first US Open.
 
"We are tennis lovers. We play, we watch, we think, we talk, I work, tennis! Who can resist to watch [Roger] Federer if he is playing? I simply believe he is the most perfect tennis monument ever. Juan Martin del Potro comes next along with Juan Monaco," said Calderale, who was born in Argentina, as was her husband. "I would like to thank every single person that made this possible, and especially [USTA Florida volunteer and Officials Committee chair] Sandi Pardon, who offered me one of the two last tickets she had left, and I was lucky to choose the right one!"
 
Tammi Leiffer of Longwood, Fla., won the second prize of two 2013 US Open courtside seats in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
 
Dominic Martinez of Lewisville, Tex., won the third prize of two 2013 Sony Ericsson Open box seats for the men's or women's final.
 
"On behalf of the Foundation Board, we extend our sincere thanks to all of the donors for the US Open Experience Fundraiser," said USTA Florida Director of Community Tennis Linda Curtis. "Your generosity helps ensure that Floridians of all ages will be able to enjoy the lifetime sport of tennis while experiencing the benefits of healthy social, emotional, physical and educational development."
 
USTA_FL_Section_Foundation_logoFlorida tennis volunteers packed 24,000 meals in only 69 minutes during the Meals of Hope event, where more than 150 USTA Florida volunteers and guests participated in packaging meals that will be distributed to families in need in the Orlando area during the holidays and beyond.
 
"We try to give back to the community, which is what we always try to do through tennis, said USTA Florida Executive Director Doug Booth. "That's what our volunteers do throughout the year."
 
Meals of Hope is a non-profit organization with offices in cities across the U.S., with the goal of packaging and distributing fortified meals to those in need.
 
"A lot of people don't know that Central Florida has a hunger problem, they think of Disney and that everything is fine, but there is a large problem," said Jen Lindress, events specialist for Meals of Hope. "Second Harvest Food Bank provides 55,000 meals for people each week, and about 47 percent of those families have children, so that's why it is so important for them to have food in their stomachs when they go to school to learn, otherwise it's very difficult for them."
 
The USTA Florida Section Foundation is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)3 non-profit with a mission of "Changing Lives Through Tennis."
 
 
For more information on the USTA Florida Section Foundation visit www.USTAFloridaFoundation.com.
 
 
 
 
 

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