It is that time of year again when the food bank extends its hand for help.
In the past, money from St. Vincent de Paul’s annual golf tournament has helped build a new facility. Today, with demand up, money is needed more than ever to supplement food donations.
This year marks the 11th year for the golf tournament and planners hope a record number will sign up to tee off.
Tournament organizer Mary Wolf said the April 28 event is the largest fund-raising event for the Rim Country Food Bank.
“All funds go to the food bank to buy food and pay utilities and household supplies (for those in need),” Wolf said.
Last year’s event brought in roughly $8,000.
The four-person Shotgun Scramble tournament begins at 8 a.m., Saturday, April 28, at the Payson Golf Course, 504 W. Country Club Lane. The deadline for registration is April 16.
Last year, with the help of funding from the event, the food bank handed out nearly 9,000 food boxes to 25,000 people and helped pay rent and utility bills for more than 1,000 families. From two years ago, the number of food boxes has increased 27 percent.
Organizers predict they will need even more donations to meet the demand this year with food shipments from the Valley’s St. Vincent down. Some months, there are no deliveries from the Valley due to increased demand throughout the state.
The food bank relies heavily on contributions from the Payson Area Food Drive and golf tournament, said volunteer Bob Closs, who helped start the golf tournament.
Closs said the tournament came about due to a need for donations. While other fund-raising events hadn’t ever paid off, other non-profits seemed to be doing well with golf tournaments.
“So we decided to jump on the bandwagon,” Closs said. “Most of us had never played a golf tournament and none of us had experience putting one on, but we had a lot of help, especially from the Payson Golf Course.”
The food bank made $4,000 off the first golf tournament. This year, they anticipate it bringing in $10,000.
“This really helps us pay for a lot of expenses,” he said, from diapers and hygiene items to pet food.
The fun event is open to everyone, including those with less than perfect averages.
“A lot of us don’t play very often or practice,” Closs said.
This year, organizers have upped the chance of someone winning a hole-in-one prize by moving the prizes to shorter holes.
The top prize, $10,000 cash, is now on Hole 5, which is 135 yards, instead of the 180-ft. Hole 2.
“I really want someone to win it,” Closs said.
In the history of the tournament, only one hole-in-one prize has been won — a set of clubs on Hole 17.
This year, hole-in-one prizes include a vehicle from Steve Coury Ford on Hole 8; $10,000 cash on Hole 5; a $500 gift card on Hole 2; a set of Nike clubs on Hole 14; and a Panasonic 32” LCD TV on Hole 17.
The entry fee is $75 ($50 for Payson Golf Course members) and includes green fee, cart and buffet. All proceeds will go to the St. Vincent de Paul Society’s Payson Food Bank.
There will be a variety of raffles and prizes.
For more information, call Wolf at (928) 978-6279. Those interested in sponsoring can send a check to SVDP Attn: Mary Wolf, P.O. Box 1317, Payson, AZ., 85547.