Since November, the new Ravens Roost Chapter 143 of Sussex Hundred has quietly been organizing a flock to partake in the fellowship of football fans and charitable community fundraising, said chapter President Neil Dickerson.
The third Thursday of each month, Dickerson said the fledgling roost meets at 7 p.m. to share in sportsmanship and begin to organize charitable events in honor of their namesake, the Baltimore Ravens and their affection for the National Football League.
"We're football fans, primarily Ravens football fans, but we are also a service organization," he said. "We provide charitable contributions to the less fortunate."
Operating on the concept of the Baltimore Colt's Corral fan club - a network of Colts fans that spanned nationwide - the new Roost 143 meets at Annabella's Italian restaurant in Lewes each month and already counts nearly three dozen members. Members socialize for potluck dinners and football games in addition to monthly meetings of the nonprofit fan club.
Organizers ask only that potential members be football fans at least 21 years of age who want to take part in a fan-based service organization.
Although the new Roost didn't take flight until early November, member Emma DiBitonto said they soon got to work, providing Thanksgiving dinners to needy families and making donations to the Cape Henlopen Food Basket and West Rehoboth New Beginnings.
"We are constantly looking for new members who want to be involved," DiBitonto said. "Football, in general, is our common bond."
Already, a large fundraiser to benefit the Delaware Cancer Center is being planned for early May with appearances by Elvis impersonator Bob Lougheed at the the American Legion Post 28 near Millsboro, Dickerson said.
Each year, Raven's Roost clubs in Maryland raise millions for community organizations to help the less fortunate, he said.
Annabella's owner and Raven's Roost member Amy Spray said the group is currently open to corporate sponsorship of their events and also looking to increase membership.
The newest Roost hopes to make a big impact in 2014, especially in the off-season, and set the bar for fundraising high in their first year of operation, member Tony DiBatonto said. “We are hoping that we can make a big contribution in a short period of time."
For more information about the new Raven’s Roost 143 of Sussex Hundred, look up the club on Facebook or call 302-604-3756.