#ForeHunger: How the Meijer LPGA Classic gives back

BELMONT, Mich. (WOOD) — Among the spectacular tee shots and incredible putts, you’ll notice something else at the Meijer LPGA Classic this week: a major focus on giving back.

All proceeds from the Classic go to support Meijer’s Simply Give program, which has helped stock food pantries across the Midwest since 2008.

The tournament, which is held at the Blythefield Country Club in Belmont, raised more than $2 million for food pantries in its first three years. Organizers are hoping to raise $1 million this year alone.

“No one deserves to go to bed hungry. So we are really excited that the community supports this tournament as much as they have,” Christina Fecher, public relations manager for Meijer, said at the tournament Friday.

The Northwest Food Pantry in Grand Rapids is one of more than 200 pantries that benefit from the golf tournament and from Simply Give.

Despite consistently high demand for donations, co-director Waverly Knight told 24 Hour News 8 that fewer people are stopping to drop off food.

“A lot more people are hurting, and just aren’t giving as much as what they used to.”

“We have single people, we have couples, we have grandmas and grandpas who are raising grandkids,” Knight said of the different types of people who walk through the pantry doors.

That’s why the tournament — and programs like Simply Give — are so important. Knight said the majority of the food on their shelves has come from donations through Simply Give.

“If we didn’t have Meijer Simply Give, I mean, our shelves would be so empty,” Knight said.

So, when you buy that ticket to see the best female golfers in the game, you’re also making a big difference for families in your own community.

“It’s the right thing to do, and we know that our customers appreciate the fact that they can help us do this,” Fecher said.

If you can’t make it out to the tournament but still want to give back, you can donate to the Simply Give program at any Meijer location.

Also, new this year, you can text ‘SimplyGive’ — one word — to 444-999 and contribute that way.

As a whole, Meijer’s Simply Give program has raised more than $28 million dollars for food pantries since 2008. That helps provide about 308 million meals for hungry families across the Midwest.