HELENA – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Helena and Great Falls is getting ready for one of its biggest annual fundraisers, as the group continues to deal with a dire financial situation.

Leaders say more than 70 teams have already signed up to take part in Bowl for Kids’ Sake, which will be held Friday through Sunday at Sleeping Giant Lanes. That’s up from about 55 teams last year.

“We have a lot of new groups who are bowling who’ve never bowled before,” said Claire O’Connell, office manager for BBBS in Helena.

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As of Wednesday afternoon, the event’s website said more than $15,000 had been collected. But leaders say the event has raised up to $100,000 in the past, and they’re hoping to approach that number again this year.

Bowl for Kids’ Sake comes just a month after BBBS leaders announced the nonprofit lost $115,000 this year – about a quarter of its annual funding – because of state budget cuts. They say, since that time, they’ve seen an outpouring of support.

“All sorts of people have been very supportive of us, and we are extremely excited and just grateful for that,” O’Connell said. “We don’t want anything to happen to us, and we’re glad that the community loves and supports us as well.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters is still looking for teams to take part in Bowl for Kids’ Sake this year. Their Friday night “cosmic bowling” session is full, but there are still available times at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday and at noon and 2 p.m. on Sunday.

O’Connell said people can still sign up until the day of the event. Up to six people can bowl together on a single lane, but teams can reserve multiple lanes. Each bowler is asked to raise at least $100.

Leaders say BBBS has been holding Bowl for Kids’s Sake fundraisers for several decades. This year’s theme will be “Vegas Wedding.” O’Connell encouraged bowlers to wear wedding dresses or other appropriate items if they have them.

If you’d like to take part in Bowl for Kids’ Sake, you can call Big Brothers Big Sisters of Helena at (406) 442-7479 or visit their website at bbbs-helena.org. BBBS will also hold Bowl for Kids’ Sake fundraisers at Little’s Lanes in Great Falls on Feb. 9 and 10 and in Boulder on Mar. 16 and 17.