Amazing how many charitable fundraisers go on around here with the help of the many PGA and LPGA Tour golfers who live in Palm Beach County and up the Treasure Coast.
Here’s one I didn’t know about involving a star player from outside our community, and a local club that’s thinking outside the box.
Jim Furyk, a former U.S. Open champion and the captain of the 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup team, is heavily involved in a program that each week sends a package of food home with students at Benoist Farms Elementary School in West Palm Beach.
Furyk and his family live near PGA Tour headquarters in the Jacksonville area, and that’s where most of the time and efforts of the ever-generous Jim & Tabitha Furyk Foundation are invested. So what’s the connection to Palm Beach County?
“We had a member with a connection to his agent,” said Cindy Lowdermilk, the general manager at West Palm Beach’s Banyan Golf Club, “so we reached out and told Jim we wanted to expand here.”
It was a very specific request. The members at Banyan wanted to help a school where most of the students were on free or reduced-cost lunch plans. Benoist Farms was the closest such school to the club.
Furyk agreed, and for the last three Decembers he has visited the club on Lyons Road to serve as host for a golf fundraiser. The format is familiar, with teams signing up to play golf and have brunch, and with Furyk jumping in to hit a few shots with each group. Members sell out the event every year, and there’s a waiting list, too.
The money raised goes toward boxes of food for all 565 students at Benoist Farms. They get one every Friday loaded with nutritious snacks like peanut butter and cereal and fruit to help get kids through the weekend. Special events bring special bonuses, too.
“Our members get together and do supplemental packings for over the holidays,” Lowdermilk said. “We just did Easter goodies for the kids, and we did hot chocolate and peppermint sticks for Christmas.”
Furyk will be back in December to do it again, joining with the Banyan Club in assisting a great many West Palm Beach families. It’s a long way from Jacksonville for Jim and Tabitha, but clearly close to their hearts.