Farmers’ golf tournament raises funds to feed needy

Turkey and egg farmers from Langley and other parts of the Fraser Valley will take to the links on Wednesday, Aug. 31, in support of a good cause — Union Gospel Mission.

Turkey and egg farmers from Langley and other parts of the Fraser Valley will take to the links on Wednesday, Aug. 31, in support of a good cause — Union Gospel Mission.

Union Gospel Mission, located in downtown Vancouver, New Westminster and Mission, is a street ministry that deals with people who are homeless and often suffering from addictions and other serious problems. One of its best-known programs is feeding people in the downtown east side of Vancouver.

The farmers are in the food business, and they are well aware of the need. They also know the importance of turkey and egg products in good nutrition.

So back in 2005, the B.C. Turkey Association and the B.C. Egg Producers Association got together to start a charity golf tournament. The event that they host jointly raises money for the feeding programs at Union Gospel Mission. One hundred per cent of proceeds go towards purchasing food products.

Langley turkey farmer Bodo Goetzke, a member of the committee that organizes the event,  said the event started off as a smaller event, but has now become very popular. It sells out months in advance, and for the Aug. 31 tournament, there is a waiting list.

Most of the golfers are farmers and suppliers to the turkey and egg industry, such as people working for feed companies, farm equipment dealers, insurance companies and other industries.

In 2010, the tournament raised over $40,000, and since 2005, it has raised $137,382.

The tournament takes place at Newlands Golf and Country Club, 21025 48 Avenue. It starts with a lunch, courtesy of Lilydale, a chicken and turkey processor. The shotgun start on Newlands’ 18-hole course is at 1 p.m., and the event ends with a buffet dinner, where prizes are awarded. There is also a live auction, which raises funds for UGM. A speaker from the mission gives a short testimonial as to its  effectiveness as well.

A note from Union Gospel Mission to the tournament organizers testifies to the need and the effectiveness of the farmers’ donations.

“At Union Gospel Mission, we often say that ‘hope begins with a meal.’ Your weekly donations of egg products and monthly donations of turkeys play a huge part in ensuring we can provide meals full of nutrition that is essential for healing. For so many, that meal truly is the beginning of a journey that can lead to breaking free of the devastating cycles of poverty, addiction and homelessness. Thank you for bringing hope to the hundreds of men, women and children who come through our doors each day,” wrote Lisa Falconer, UGM’S principal giving officer.