The PGA TOUR announced today that the River Bend Foodbank, a local charity beneficiary of the John Deere Classic (Silvis, IL), has been named the 2011 PGA TOUR Charity of the Year.
River Bend Foodbank, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit founded in 1981 and based in East Moline, IL, is the largest hunger relief organization in the bi-state (Iowa/Illinois) area with an annual distribution of 6.3 million pounds of food. The organization touches the lives of 10,000 individuals on a weekly basis through its 300 charitable feeding programs throughout a 22 county service area.
"Congratulations to the River Bend Foodbank for being named the PGA TOUR Charity of the Year," said Tim Finchem, PGA TOUR commissioner. "Being fortunate to have enough to eat is something most of us take for granted, but due to recent economic conditions, the need for food assistance in that region has become greater than ever. The River Bend Foodbank provides a tremendous service, allowing families to focus on things other than where their next meal may come from."
In addition to a general foodbank program, River Bend Foodbank operates two childhood hunger programs: Kids Café and BackPack. The four Kids Café sites serve 50,000 free evening meals to low income children on an annual basis. The BackPack Program is currently operating in 17 schools serving more than 1,000 low-income students each week by providing nutritious food to eat over the weekend. The newest program, Mobile Food Pantry, has successfully targeted underserved areas, as a refrigerated truck drives to various locations where needy individuals can walk to receive food assistance. In 2011, the PGA TOUR Wives Association made a contribution to the River Bend Foodbank and helped distribute food to people in need through the Mobile Food Pantry.
"Not only are we humbled and so very grateful for this award, but we are so excited as well" said Tom Laughlin, executive director of the River Bend Foodbank. "Our excitement stems from the awareness that will come from this recognition. With that (recognition), we hope to be able to feed even more people moving forward."
The award comes with a $30,000 grant from the PGA TOUR to support the expansion of River Bend Foodbank's Mobile Food Pantry into rural areas.
"We are honored to have one of our charities chosen for PGA TOUR Charity of the Year," said Clair Peterson, John Deere Classic tournament director. "The River Bend Food bank is an incredibly important organization in our community, taking truckloads of food to the rural parts of the region where help is needed. This generous gift from the TOUR will fill 15 more trucks with food and make a huge difference to thousands of people/"
The 2012 John Deere Classic, captured in 2011 by Steve Stricker, will be held July 9-15 at TPC Deere Run.
About PGA TOUR
The PGA TOUR is the world's premier membership organization for touring professional golfers, co-sanctioning more than 100 tournaments on the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour.
The PGA TOUR's mission is to entertain and inspire its fans, deliver substantial value to its partners, create outlets for volunteers to give back, generate significant charitable and economic impact in communities in which it plays, and provide financial opportunities for TOUR players.
In 2011, the three Tours collectively have tournaments in 29 states and in 12 countries and territories outside of the United States. PGA TOUR tournaments are broadcast to nearly 600 million households in 225 countries and territories in 30 languages.
Virtually all tournaments are organized as non-profit organizations in order to maximize charitable giving. In 2010, tournaments on the three Tours generated more than $120 million for local charitable organizations, bringing the TOUR's all-time total of charitable contributions to more than $1.6 billion.
The PGA TOUR's website is PGATOUR.COM, the No. 1 site in golf, and the organization is headquartered in Ponte Vedra, FL.
Joel Schuchmann, PGA TOUR, 904-280-4707, [email protected]