Summerfield Women's Golf Club has donated more than $60,000 to charity over the past six years

by: BARBARA SHERMAN - GRATEFUL RECIPIENTS - Tara Taylor (left), associate director of community engagements with the Oregon Food Bank, and Jack Schwab, executive director of the Good Neighbor Center in Tigard, accept checks totaling $11,200 from Carol Knutson (center), Summerfield Women's Golf Club's charity event treasurer, at a dinner July 17; in the background is Robin Nash, golf tournament chairwoman, who led the program.Way to go, Summerfield Women's Golf Club!

Club members just celebrated another successful charity auction and golf tournament at a dinner July 17, when they presented checks totaling more than $11,000 to two charities, bringing their total amount of donations over the past six years to more than $60,000.

The Oregon Food Bank and the Good Neighbor Center in Tigard were the beneficiaries this year, and representatives of both organizations spoke at the dinner, held in the Summerfield Clubhouse.

"It is an honor for the Oregon Food Bank to be the beneficiary of your golf tournament," said Tara Taylor, associate director of community engagements with the Oregon Food Bank. "Your gift to us is your gift through us to help others."

She explained that the organization is basically a hub-and-spokes set-up with its headquarters and warehouse located on Northeast 33rd in Portland.

"We have 20 regional food banks, with four operated by us and 16 operated independently," she said. "The Oregon Food Bank is a 501(c)3 organization and is unique in the country. We support 925-plus local agencies that include churches and the Salvation Army.

"People think of the Oregon Food Bank as primarily dealing with canned food, but that is the historic definition. Our trucks drop off and pick up food all the way down I-5 and back. We might pick up part of a farmer's crop or something from a manufacturer who donated food.

"The Oregon Food Bank has a renewed commitment to fresh food, so trucks from Eastern Oregon may bring back onions, pears and lettuce, and we only have 24 hours to turn them around. The logistics are as complex as any grocery store chain. We have volunteers who wash and sort the produce, and it goes right back out, so we have to calculate how long it will take different volunteers to process the food."

According to Taylor, the Oregon Food Bank operates 50,000 volunteer shifts per year, and it has 20,000 volunteers.

She added, "I feel honored to work there. One out of five Oregonians struggles with hunger - it's astounding. Someone within our arms' reach is struggling with hunger. It's not 'someone else.' It's someone you know."

Golf club member Marilyn Dunlap introduced Jack Schwab, the executive director of the Good Neighbor Center in Tigard, which was the second recipient of the charity funds, with Schwab noting that Dunlap also serves as secretary on the center's board of directors.

"The Good Neighbor Center is a homeless center for families," Schwab said. "It has nine bedrooms, and none stay empty very long. There is always a waiting list. The majority of our funding comes from Washington County's safety levy, and we also get federal money as well as from events like this.

"The majority of our families are from Washington County, and the Good Neighbor Center is part of a countywide system to help people struggling to get enough food. We are a member of the Oregon Food Bank, although we don't get any food there. We actually collect food from New Seasons, Grocery Outlet and other stores and distribute it to places like St. Anthony's Food Pantry and the Bethlehem House of Bread."

All the food served at the Good Neighbor Center is donated and dropped off daily, with churches and other organizations providing and serving dinner every night of the month, using the large commercial kitchen and dining room.

The Good Neighbor Center, which is a 501(c)3 organization, also offers classes for children and is now offering a 10-week summer school program.

In addition to raising money through a silent auction and the golf tournament, the women's golf club raffled off several gift baskets during the dinner to add to the money raised.

After the two speakers finished talking, Carol Knutson, who was the event treasurer and said she had been tallying the final amounts out in the hall, announced that $11,200 had been raised this year, with each organization getting a check for $5,600.

The club has an impressive record of donations from its annual charity auction and golf tournament over the past several years: In 2008, it donated $8,000 to the Washington County Domestic Violence Resource Center; in 2009, it donated $10,000 to the Good Neighbor Center;

In 2010, it donated $9,750 to the Good Neighbor Center; in 2011, it donated $9,500 to the Good Neighbor Center; in 2012, it donated $12,000 to the Tigard Backpack Program that supplies low-income kids with food; and in 2013, it donated $11,750 to the Tigard Backpack Program, for a grand total of $61,000.

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