Feed the Fish

Children throw popcorn to the carp that gather around the docks at Bridgewater Marina and Boat Rentals. The Smith Mountain Lake business recently donated nearly $20,000 to Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia by contributing 100 percent of 2020 popcorn sales at its Bridgewater Plaza location.

Despite the global pandemic that restricted travel and gatherings in 2020, Bridgewater Marina & Boat Rentals donated nearly $20,000 to Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia via its “Feed the Fish for Make-A-Wish” fundraising campaign.

Ryan Waters, Bridgewater Marina partner, said this was the fourth year for the initiative, which has generated more than $97,000 for the Richmond-based non-profit. The exact amount donated in 2020 was $19,978.

“Make-A-Wish is an organization that’s near and dear to my family,” Waters said. “It fills us with such joy to see the Smith Mountain Lake community support this fundraiser so generously each year.”

The mission of “Feed the Fish for Make-A-Wish,” he explained, is to turn a decades-long Smith Mountain Lake tradition – kids feeding popcorn to the massive carp that gather around the marina’s docks – into a way to contribute to a charity that serves children. The marina donates 100 percent of its popcorn sales to the organization.

Caroline Browell, Director of Marketing and Communications for Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia, said the challenges of the past year have made the commitment of community supporters even more valuable.

“Wishes create hope for children battling critical illnesses and give them a piece of their childhood back, providing the strength needed to continue their battles for health,” Browell said. “We are honored by Bridgewater Marina’s continued commitment to granting life-changing wishes for children in Virginia and are proud to be their partner for their Feed The Fish for Make-A-Wish campaign.”

Browell said the average wish costs $10,000 so Bridgewater Marina’s donation equates to approximately two wishes for children in Virginia facing critical illnesses. Examples include meeting celebrities, working a dream job and visiting a desired destination such as Chicago or New York.

Waters said Bridgewater Marina is continuing the program and hopes to raise $30,000 in 2021.

For more information, contact Waters at 540-721-1639 or Browell at 804-571-1274.

Read more stories in the current issue of the Smith Mountain Eagle newspaper. Pick up a copy or subscribe at www.smithmountaineagle.com/subscriber_services to view articles in the print and/or e-edition version.

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