On March 1, you can play golf in a tournament at the Black Bear Golf Course and help homeless people get better lives.
The tournament will benefit the North Strand Housing Shelter in Longs, which provides shelter for the homeless and strives to help them get jobs and housing.
Michael Bolch and his wife, Dana Black, opened the shelter in 2010.
It has about a 50 percent success rate, Black said.
She said that they give the people a week to rest, and then begin the process of preparing them for jobs, and then finding jobs and housing for them.
The successes include a young man who went there with empty pockets and very little hope.
He has had a job for about a year now, has been promoted and lives in his own place near the beach.
“He feels like he is part of the real world now,” Black said.
The young man recently called Black. He said, “I never thought my life would be good again. My life is wonderful.”
The shelter operates with volunteers, and no one, including Bolch and Black, gets paid for the work they do there. It is funded almost completely by donations and operates with the assistance of about 20 churches, many individuals, businesses, agencies, civic groups and others. But more money and more help are always needed, Black said.
The shelter has 16 beds and is divided into sections for women and men. It recently got a government grant to build a 5,000-square-foot addition that will include a veterans’ wing and a family unit wing, increasing the number of beds to 52.
The grant only covers the cost of building. They expect to begin construction in late spring, and hope to have it completed by Christmas.
Black said they are getting some funds to help with the costs for kitchen appliances and furniture from the Little River Rotary Club, American Legion Post 186 Auxiliary and the North Myrtle Beach Women’s Club.
Sue Bretsch, a shelter volunteer, is coordinating the golf tournament to raise funds for day-to-day operations and other things the shelter needs.
Many volunteers are working to help make it a success. They include members of several veterans groups such as Rolling Thunder Chapter 3 and Little River VFW Post 10804.
As Bretsch has been planning the tournament and seeking sponsors and donations, she has encountered many people who did not know the shelter existed, she said. But once they found out about it, many of them have responded positively.
So far, sponsors include one that is offering a $10,000 prize for a hole in one at a specific hole.
Bretsch said she is almost always in awe at the wonderful work that is being done at the shelter, which she said is the only local one that will accept children.
“It’s quite remarkable to me. It’s wonderful. It just has a great group of people that are keeping it going,” she said.
For more information on the tournament, call Bretsch at 427-4801 or call the shelter line that is manned by volunteers at 756-9488.
Contact PEGGY MISHOE at email@example.com or 365-3885.