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4 Indiana charities get creative to raise money during COVID-19 pandemic

The Breeders Crown Charity Challenge is benefiting four nonprofit organizations represented by local Indiana celebrities, including 13Sunrise anchor Julia Moffitt.

ZIONSVILLE, Ind. — There have been all kinds of challenges the last six months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That includes nonprofit organizations that rely on huge fundraisers, either with galas, golf outings or other large gatherings to raise money.

Four big Indiana charities are getting creative to raise awareness and funds for their organizations.

Abigail Schounce, the equine trainer at Morning Dove Therapeutic Riding in Zionsville, sees firsthand how important this therapy is for the patients.

"We see kids and adults with behavioral, cognitive and physical disabilities, and it's really amazing to see that they don't really have limitations when they're on the horse," Schounce said. "It can literally build muscle, core and strength. For the behavioral and more cognitive disabilities, it helps them focus and build bonds, so it's all kinds of disabilities that really change out here."

Schounce said fundraising helps nonprofits like Morning Dove provide services to people in need.

"We absolutely rely on fundraising and volunteers," Schounce said. "We're a nonprofit, so we can't do this without them. We can't do any of this without the help of others, especially our community."

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Jay Perkins, who has cerebral palsy, has been riding horses for almost 16 years. His mom, Mary Jane, said it has changed his mobility. 

"The benefits that he gets from riding the horse closely simulates a walking gait that he doesn't get anywhere else — even with a walker," Mary Jane said. "Every week, even on the way here today, he said, 'When do I get to come again?' He forms relationships with the staff and especially his horse."

Brad Schleppi, who runs Morning Dove, said it's more important than ever for nonprofits to get creative, and that's why they've teamed up with the Breeders Crown and Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing & Casino.

"Like everybody else, we've had to absolutely cancel and eliminate all of our traditional fundraising for 2020," Schleppi said. "We absolutely could not do what we do every day as a nonprofit without the donor dollar. It is critical to what we do when we look at the kids we reach, the young adults we reach, to serve those folks here in central Indiana."

The Breeders Crown Challenge benefits four nonprofit organizations:

"It's a fantastic partnership that Harrah's Hoosier Park has put together," Schleppi said. "They have put this together based on some well-practiced history in their industry, and we look forward to not only engaging with them but also the other nonprofits and just making a real fun go of this over the next month or so."

Voting takes place through Thursday, Oct. 29 on Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing & Casino's Facebook page

Each celebrity’s charity will receive a donation, but the celebrity-charity duo with the highest votes on the Facebook poll will receive a majority of the funds raised.

Obviously, Julia would love your support for Morning Dove, but all charities need our help right now during these difficult times.