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Essex County Teen’s ‘Turkey Bowl’ Raises Money For 2 Local Charities

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — Last year, Zach Maitlin, then a junior at Millburn High School, had an idea. He planned a flag football tournament on Thanksgiving to raise money to fight hunger.

“We had eight teams compete,” Zach reminisced this week. “It was an amazing turnout and I learned a lot from it as an event organizer. I really loved seeing how into it everyone got.”

He created a website and planned future sports events to raise money for various area charities.

He and friend Baruch Akwaboah organized a soccer tournament in June, donating all the funds to Soccer for Dreamers, the Akwaboah family’s charity that helps kids play soccer in Ghana.

And this year, Maitlin’s group hosted another Turkey Bowl, benefiting two local charities.

“I sent my website around the school and got 12 teams to compete,” he said. “I decided to combine the tournament with Missy’s Miracle, a charity that donates to organ donors and provides money for scholarships.”

Missy’s Miracle, based in Short Hills, was founded to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Missy Rodriguez getting a donated liver as a teen. Teens who have been impacted by organ donation can apply for a scholarship through February 2023, and anyone can still donate.

Another Successful Year

The Turkey Bowl tournament took place last Saturday.

“We raised over $1,000 for the NJ Community Food Bank [based in Hillside] and to Missy’s Miracle and collected non-perishables and canned goods at midfield,” Mailtlin said this week. “I am extremely proud of how the tournament turned out and cannot wait to continue planning more into my college career.”

Check out Maitlin’s website here: www.playformillburnraiseforcharity.com

Donate to the NJ food bank or get information on volunteering here.

See photos above. Millburn High School club Studio 462 provided a live broadcast for eight of the games.

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Travis Burnett

Travis Burnett

A pioneer in the flag football community, Travis helped co-found the Flag Football World Championship Tour, FlagSpin and USA Flag. Featuring 15+ years of content creation for the sport of flag football, creating and managing the largest flag football tournaments on the planet, coaching experience at the youth and adult level as well as an active player with National and World Championship level experience.

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