The second annual fundraising golf tournament for the Wheatland County Food Bank (WCFB) and Strathmore and Wheatland County Christmas Hamper Society (SWCCHS) is now open for registration.
This year's event will again be a combined event between both organizations with the funds raised being split 50/50, Executive Director Lynnette Aschenbrenner with the WCFB shared some of the successes of their first year, "We had full sponsorship, full roster of golfers and yeah, and huge silent auction it was a lot of fun."
In 2022 Fundraising Coordinator with the SWCCHS Lynn Thurston. Thurston said that after expenses each group received a cheque for $6,000, and so the goal for everyone involved is to match or exceed that this year.
Funds are raised in multiple ways for an event like this one is through sponsorships noted Thurston, “What we like to do is have a sponsor for each hole, we are running a silent auction and this year we are playing with the idea of having a couple of items for a live auction, just to spruce things up a bit and they generate a lot of cash," she explained if people want to donate money independently and have nothing to do with the golf event, that is also welcomed.
Included in the registration for teams will be dinner, prizes, and a silent auction along with a few other fun surprises.
The money that is raised is split between the WCFB and the SWCCHS, “For the Christmas Hamper it will be going towards filling the food bags and toy bags. People might not be aware that we also make toy bags, so we actually operate out of two facilities. So, we are renting two locations. It takes a lot of effort and cash to operate," explained Thruston.
Aschenbrenner expressed that the WCFB are facing similar challenges that many organizations are with the rising cost of operations and items used to fill the boxes for those in need each month, “Obviously food, things like personal hygiene items, which people may not know we give out, those things are quite expensive right now and then, of course, you must have a large space and you must pay for lights, water, and heat.”
One of the main misconceptions of the food bank is that it's government or town funded and that just isn't the case. Aschenbrenner said they are very grateful that this year they have received some government funding as the government is addressing the issue of food insecurity but other than that, they must still apply for other grants. “I would say that we 98% run on the generosity of this amazing community.”
Thurston and Aschenbrenner expressed how grateful they are to the schools in the community that continuously do food drives and donate to both organizations.
The last couple of years have been tough for the Christmas hamper but they were blown away with the continued support, “We kind of start at the end of October and go to the end of December but the schools are absolutely wonderful. The donations and the things you get coming from them are amazing,” Thurston said.
Last year, Aschenbrenner said the food bank gave out 812 hampers and this year they are almost halfway to that, and they are halfway through their fiscal year. So, they are up 25% this year. She does note that the food bank's bread and extras program to date has provided food to over 1500 households, “It's very busy at the food bank right now.”
The golf tournament will be held at the Strathmore golf club on June 22, it will be a shotgun start for teams of 4. Those intereseted in sponsorship can reach out to Lynn Thurston through the SWCCHS social media page, and to register a team email email@example.com. The cutoff is June 1, to confirm your team's spot.
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