The organizers of A Big Heart Foundation’s Fifth Annual Toys for Tots Golf Tournament are proud to announce that over $35,000 worth of toys were donated to the Toys for Tots Program with the tournament’s proceeds, the largest amount raised thus far.
“We are thrilled to report that the Fifth Annual Toys for Tots Golf Tournament has been our most successful. To date, we have raised over $100,000 in toys for the Toys for Tots Program, and we couldn’t have done it without the dedication of all our sponsors, volunteer and the Charlotte community who helped make this possible,” said Jack Burke, Founder of A Big Heart Foundation and President of BURKE.
The Fifth Annual Toys for Tots Golf Tournament was held at Cedarwood Country Club in South Charlotte on September 24, 2012, where 150 business leaders and community members arrived with a brand new toy in hand. Before teeing off, golfers were welcomed with breakfast from Just Fresh and Bruegger’s Bagels. During the opening ceremonies the British-American School children’s choir sang the national anthem, the United States Marines presented the colors, and a few words of gratitude and good luck were delivered by Charlotte’s Mayor Pro Tem, Patrick Cannon. The Mayor’s office also provided an official proclamation declaring September 24, 2012 Charlotte’s official Toys for Tots Day, delivered on behalf of the Mayor by Phil Chub with Title Sponsor Shumaker, Loop, and Kendrick, LLP.
With beautiful Carolina weather setting the scene, golfers teed off with a shotgun start around the Cedarwood course. Major Sponsor Cunningham Recreation placed first followed by Team Kleiderer and Husqvarna. A live auction, emceed by WBTV’s Jim Zsoke, followed the tournament, raising nearly an additional $8,000 toward the cause.
After the conclusion of the tournament, the Charlotte community was invited to join BURKE, A Big Heart Foundation and the Toys for Tots Marines for the annual toy shopping day held at Learning Express Toys in the Stonecrest shopping center in Charlotte to donate toys. “Though we saw a huge outpour of support from the Charlotte community this year, we love to start off our Toys for Tots collection season with the Toys for Tots Golf Tournament because that event alone serves hundreds of families in the Charlotte area,” said Toys for Tots SSgt. Donell Odom. “With this year being the largest donation from the tournament and its sponsoring organizations, we made a positive impact in the lives of hundreds of children this Christmas.”
Organizers of the tournament got to see this impact first hand as they accompanied the Toys for Tots Marines on a special trip to Hope Haven, a housing and addiction recovery foundation that provides services to Charlotte’s homeless. The Marine Toys for Tots Program and A Big Heart Foundation provided over 1,000 toys which went not only to the children that live at Hope Haven, but to children of residents who do not reside onsite and to children of alumni who have recently moved off site.
Three of Hope Haven’s newest residents got to participate in a special meet and greet with the Toys for Tots Marines and had the opportunity to interact with organizers one-on-one. “There is nothing sweeter than having a little girl tug on your shirt, asking you to help her open her baby doll. It’s very heartwarming. We sat and played with the kids, listened to the families stories, and really experienced the true impact and meaning of the cause,” said Toys for Tots Golf Tournament Event Coordinator, Lyndsey Kraynock. “Preparing for the tournament is a year-round endeavor. And while planning can be tedious and demanding, it’s the delivery of toys and seeing that impact that makes every minute of it worth it.”
Organizers are already planning next year’s Sixth Annual Toys for Tots Golf Tournament, scheduled to be held on Monday September 23, 2013 at Cedarwood Country Club in South Charlotte. To find out how you can help, please visit www.toysfortotsgolf.org.