Furyk Foundation Provides Hope For The Holidays In North Florida
By Joel Schuchmann, PGA TOUR Staff
The number 58 is the figure many people will associate with Jim Furyk for the rest of his life after setting the PGA TOUR 18-hole record last summer at the Travelers Championship. But there is one number the 17-time TOUR winner may be more proud of: 10,000. That figure equals the number of bags of food and supplies the Jim and Tabitha Furyk Foundation has distributed to at-risk children in North Florida over the last five years through the foundation’s Hope for the Holidays event.
Thanks to help from several hundred area students and their parents on December 8, the Furyk Foundation packed 3,000 shopping bags with food, bringing the Hope for the Holidays total to more than 10,000 meals in five years. The bags were packed this year with a ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, stuffing, cornbread, cereal, candy canes and other assorted items.
With a growing number of children that are food insecure, the Hope for the Holidays event began in 2012, providing meals for children that are involved with programs including First Coast Blessings in a Backpack, MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation, Hugs Cross the County, Alden Road Exceptional School and Anthony J. Stinson Association for Change.
Interestingly enough, the idea for area students to help with the Hope for the Holidays event came from the Furyk’s children, Caleigh and Tanner.
“When we started this five years ago, our kids wanted to help, so we invited their classmates to help pack the bags and it has continued to grow,” said Tabitha. “It’s important for them to understand and know what it’s like to give back to others especially during the holiday season. All this support we see today shows what a wonderful community Jacksonville is.”
Jim is equally passionate about making a difference in Northeast Florida.
“We have five or six events during the year, and this is one of my favorites because it’s the holiday season,” he said. “For many of us, we think about the big turkey dinner, presents and spending time with family, but there are so many families that are in need. To be able to invite the community to help and disburse the food in the community is very important to us.”
Support of the event came from PepsiCo, Publix, Target and Walmart. Combined with the help of the sponsors of the annual Furyk & Friends Celebrity Golf Classic — Interline, Web.com, AT&T and the PGA TOUR, the event continues to grow.
“A bigger tent, more tables, more volunteers and 3,000 bags we’re going to pack,” said Tabitha. “We started this five years ago with 900, so we’re excited how much it has grown thanks to our sponsors and all the hard work of our volunteers. We’re only scratching the surface in the community but helping families with a good meal during the holidays is a start.”
While Jim, the only player with rounds of 58 and 59 in PGA TOUR history, has plenty of aspirations remaining in his golf career, Tabitha said a successful year for the Furyk family is not just found in PGA TOUR record books.
“Jim has been on TOUR for 20 years now, and the priority for us of packing suitcases and traveling week-in and week-out (to play on TOUR) has shifted to trying to change people’s lives in the community as well,” she said.
Read the story at insidegolf.ca.