When Sally Church heard a group of retired recreational golfers wanted to raise money for the Blaine Food Bank, she expected their small tournament to yield a few hundred dollars. When the Good Old Boys golf group handed over $14,000 on September 4 at Semiahmoo Golf and Country Club, she couldn’t believe it.
“I was really speechless because I was not expecting anything like that,” said Church, the food bank’s operations manager. “It was beyond my expectations, far beyond my expectations.”
Church said the donation will buy the food bank about half a year’s worth of eggs or milk – items that the bank typically buys, rather than receives through donations.
The golf group – more than 30 retired guys who mostly live near Semiahmoo and golf a few times a week – has been around for about 30 years, but this is the first time it’s used its annual tournament to raise money for charity, said Thomas Yang, who organized the fundraiser.
Yang said when the pandemic started, the Good Old Boys were mostly concerned with whether they’d be able to keep golfing. That soon changed, as the pandemic’s economic effects became apparent.
“We felt we should be doing something for the community,” Yang said.
They looked for an organization to support, and the Blaine Food Bank was an obvious choice.
“It wasn’t difficult to pick. The Blaine Food Bank is very active in community support,” he said. “They support about 30 percent of families in the community.”
The Good Old Boys started raising money earlier this summer through small weekly donations. Then, they did a fundraiser with an anonymous matching fund that raised the bulk of the money – about $8,500.
The group increased the entry fee for its annual three-day tournament so that a portion could go to the food bank and held a silent auction with donated items from Galloway Golf Equipment and several other golf companies.
When the prizes had all been handed out at the end of the Friday tournament, the group’s donation to the food bank totaled $14,000. Church accepted a giant check in front of 33 Good Old Boys at the group’s awards ceremony.
“This is going to really impact the people we serve,” Church told the group. “Please know how much this means to us. It means so much that our hard work is recognized and that the job we do is appreciated by folks like you.”
For the Blaine Food Bank, the donation came at a good time. Church said the food bank is currently serving about 430 families a week, which is up slightly since March, but she’s seen new people in the last couple weeks and she expects that number will continue to grow as the extra pandemic unemployment assistance and other programs come to an end.
While more people were donating to the food bank in April and May, Church said that has dropped off recently.
“It’s a whole different world,” Church said. “I’m sure people are concerned about their future and I can understand why they’re not donating.”