Editorial | Golf tournament proceeds to help fill Myrtle Beach-area food bank coffers

01/28/2014 3:08 PM

01/28/2014 3:10 PM

The South Strand Lions Club is recruiting golfers to play in the service club’s 7th Annual Charity Golf Tournament that benefits the Assembly of God Food Bank and other Lions projects including scholarships to St. James High School students.

The March 1 outing is again at Wachesaw Plantation East and includes breakfast, catered luncheon, a gift bag, awards and prizes. The format is captain’s choice with a shotgun start. The fundraiser, held on the first Saturday in March, attracted 116 players last year and raised $12,000, club president Steve Barbour says. The club gave $7,000 to Bi-Lo Charities which in turn donated a total of $28,000 to the South Strand Assembly of God Food Bank.

Other money supported a variety of South Strand Lions projects, such as eyeglasses, vision and hearing screenings, Help 4 Kids, archery competition for St. James Middle School students and two $500 scholarships for high school students who give back to the community.

The golf outing -- Bi-Lo Charities contribution has been the sole source of funds for the food bank, director Vicky Bell says. “We’re in bad shape’’ financially as funds become more difficult to raise. “I don’t know what we would do without the Lions Club.’’

To increase funding, Bell plans to contact potential sponsors for monthly support of the food bank. She has come to realize, sadly, that she cannot feed everybody.

Bell has dropped more than 200 families, who had not visited the food bank for six months, and still is serving 322 families. The food bank is in the former teen center at the church in Murrells Inlet.

Families receive food every other week now, instead of every week. Bell recalled one woman who had not visited the pantry because she had a job, but was to begin chemotherapy. “It breaks my heart,’’ Bell says. “I’m faced with that every single day.’’

The South Strand Lions, which has a record 29 members, serve their community in many ways. Chartered in 1984, the club was rejuvenated 10 years ago by Carl and Anne Blake of Surfside Beach.

The club has distributed 19 eyeglasses since July 1 and members voted to increase the pairs of glasses from 18 to 25. Members also contribute food for the Help 4 Kids Backpack Buddies program at twice monthly club meetings.

They would appreciate another terrific turnout from the community for the March 1 golf outing, which is a fun way to help the Lions deliver many vital services.

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