Worcester GOLD Planning ‘Paddle The Pocomoke’ Benefit

SNOW HILL – A local organization is hoping the chance to paddle the Pocomoke will encourage the community to support its efforts to help those in need.

On Saturday, Aug. 20 Worcester G.O.L.D. (Giving Other Lives Dignity) will host a new paddling fundraiser on the Pocomoke River in Snow Hill to raise money to help families with emergency needs this winter. The event, called Paddle the Pocomoke for GOLD, will include paddling tours as well as food and live music.

“We hope to feed the bodies and the souls of participants who will enjoy canoeing or kayaking the river for a good cause,” said Carol Jacobs, president of the nonprofit’s board.

The Aug. 20 event, set for 5-8 p.m. at the Pocomoke River Canoe Company, costs $50 a person. Guests under 10 years old and those who don’t want to paddle the river can attend for $25.

Attendees can bring their own canoes or kayaks but will also be able to use those at the canoe company, as proprietor Barry Laws has donated the use of his facility and his boats.

“We hope that our canoeing and kayaking communities will support this relaxing event to assure that those less fortunate will have resources to meet their emergency needs,” Laws said. “Our staff is also looking forward to introducing some young people and novice paddlers to the joys of the sport.”

Attendees will enjoy a guided tour on the river—a long and short trip will be offered—followed by a cookout-style meal as live music is provided by Frank Nanna. Adult participants will receive two complimentary wines or beers and will also be entered into two raffles. The winner of one will receive an overnight stay at the River House Inn, complete with a canoe trip and lunch, while the winner of the other will receive a basket of goods “to delight the outdoor enthusiast.”

Though this is the first time Paddle the Pocomoke for GOLD is being held, organizers are hoping it will become an annual fundraiser. Claire Otterbein, the nonprofit’s executive director, says the new event will provide the organization with a fundraising opportunity between its spring fashion show and fall golf tournament. She’s hoping that fact that the Town of Snow Hill has recently been promoting its river as a tourist attraction will help attendance. Just last month, the town hosted Return to Goat Island, a series of paddling races.

“We thought it would fit in well,” Otterbein said. “There’s been a lot of activity on the river.”

Money raised at this month’s event will go toward supporting Worcester G.O.L.D.’s various programs but will primarily help the organization provide emergency funds to those in need. The assistance funds are provided to help with housing, utilities, food, medication or other essential services.

“That’s our biggest program,” Otterbein said. “It helps with a whole host of things for needy people.”

She said the emergency assistance program helps prevent evictions and ensures that people living in poverty have the medication they need, among other things.

“We are often the last resort when people are having an emergency,” she said, adding that the small size of the organization ensured that people were able to get help quickly. “We pride ourselves on the fact that it’s a low barrier program. Since we are small we can operate quickly.”

For more information or to register for the event, visit www.worcestergold.org or call Otterbein at 410-677-6830.