WHEELING - Undo's Italian Restaurant and the Miracle League of the Ohio Valley are calling on all those whose hearts are as big as their appetites to help make America's pasttime truly a game for all.
On Wednesday, Undo's will host a pasta benefit for the local Miracle League team, which is awaiting the May 18 opening of its brand new Miracle Field at the J.B. Chambers Youth Sports Complex in Elm Grove. For $10, diners will receive rigatoni, a salad and bread. Meals will be available for pickup at all locations during lunch time, and dinner service begins at 3:30 p.m. at all locations.
Undo's will donate 100 percent of sales - not just profits - from the event to the Miracle League.
Preparing for a special pasta dinner Wednesday at all four of Undo's Italian Restaurant's locations to benefit the Miracle League of the Ohio Valley, from left, are Undo's Vice Chairman Nick Sparachane, Jen Mortakis, Gigi Zelewicz, Cindi McGarry, local Miracle League founder Lorraine McCardle, Chuck Melko, Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center President and CEO Lorie Untch and Larry Ferrera. -- Ian Hicks
With all four locations in Elm Grove, Benwood, St. Clairsville and Weirton participating, the restaurant is expecting big things. About two years ago, Undo's raised about $11,000 for the Miracle League during a similar benefit at the Elm Grove location only.
Money raised Wednesday will be used to pave the gravel parking area near the field, making it easier to navigate for those in wheelchairs or using walkers, crutches or braces. An anonymous donor has pledged $50,000 for the purpose, provided the Miracle League can come up with an equal match, according to Lorie Untch, president and chief executive officer of the Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center in Wheeling, which has spearheaded the five-year fundraising effort for the field.
The help couldn't have come at a better time, with the Miracle Field's grand opening just a few weeks away.
"That's the finish line, so we've got to get this done," said Undo's Vice Chairman Nick Sparachane.
The Miracle League of the Ohio Valley has come a long way since early 2008, when Loraine McCardle resolved to make sure physical limitations would no longer keep her son Austin, now 12, and all area children with special needs from enjoying sports. Miracle League games are played on a flat, synthetic rubber surface, with volunteer "buddies" assisting the players - each of whom gets the opportunity to score a run - in batting and traveling the basepaths.
"I can't believe our day is finally coming for our kids to be able to play ball here in the Ohio Valley," said McCardle.
Any money raised beyond what the Miracle League needs for the $50,000 match will be used to purchase signage, equipment and picnic benches, stripe the parking area, and "anything to make it more accessible," Untch said.
Sparachane said Undo's is proud to be a part of what has been a true team effort.
"We really, really admire the Miracle Field effort. We've watched it from the beginning ... and I think it's a wonderful project for the entire Ohio Valley," he said.
To place an advance order for pickup during Wednesday's benefit, call the Easter Seals Rehabilition Center at 304-242-1390, ext. 117. Delivery service is also available from the Elm Grove and St. Clairsville locations.