WAXAHACHIE — With a goal to raise $100,000 to feed both Ellis and Johnson County residents, Meals on Wheels is kicking off its 30th annual golf benefit this Thursday to help those needing meal assistance.

“We are planning around 272 golfers and about 30 volunteers who are going to help us that day,” began Paige Harris, Meals on Wheels’ director of donor relations. “We are looking at raising over $100,000 which will help serve all the people we’re serving right now - so we’re excited about that.”

Harris went on to note that what’s raised during the benefit will provide 20,000 meals to about 700 people a day in both Ellis and Johnson counties.

“That will help us feed people right up until the holidays,” Harris emphasized. “We serve about 8,000 meals a month, and we always like to remind people that there’s no way we could do that without our amazing volunteers.

“It takes about 90 volunteers a day to deliver all of our meals,” she added. “And that’s about 45 routes for each county, so it takes us right at 90 volunteers to deliver to our clients Monday through Friday.”

What started in 1987, the first golf benefit raised $900 and has exponentially exceeded that number with last year’s tournament bringing in about $106,000.

“We’ve been doing this for 30 years, and we’ve come a long way,” Harris acknowledged. “The growth has been awesome to see, and we have a lot of friends from Ellis County that are coming to play and sponsor on Thursday, so it’s just been great.”

With this year’s title sponsor of the Baker Foundation of Burleson, as Harris also adds nearly 120 sponsors to the list that includes Midlothian’s Dynegy Energy, Citizens National Bank, HEB, and First Financial Bank.

“We have a lot of the same sponsors year after year because they know what a fun day it is, but they primarily come back because of what a great cause this is for,” Harris recalled. “We’re also able to add new sponsors because they’ve heard about it from friends and colleagues.”

With two tee times scheduled for 7:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., the benefit will provide prepared lunches from Atmos Energy and HEB cooking teams for all players to enjoy.

“Atmos Energy will be there grilling chicken sandwiches and all the trimmings that go with it, and we also have a team from HEB, and they will have partners there from Waxahachie, Ennis, Burleson, and Cleburne, and they’ll be doing sausage wraps,” Harris detailed the event’s festivities.

“We will also have ‘closest to the pin’ winners in the morning and the afternoon, and they’ll get a $500 cash prize. And our first, second, and third team winners will receive HEB gift cards,” she added. “And we’ll have a great raffle with the number one prize in that is two round-trip tickets on Southwest Airlines.”

As the benefit takes shape for what’s predicted to be a beautiful day, Harris encourages the community to sign up and play.

“We’re just really grateful to the community for basically remembering their homebound senior neighbors that a lot of the times they can be forgotten,” Harris recognized.

“But with their help, with the money we’ll raise from the golf benefit, we’re able to help these seniors remain independent in their homes where that’s their number one goal. We’re just grateful to everyone that helps us do that,” she concluded.

The Meals on Wheels 30th Golf Benefit is scheduled for this Thursday, Sept. 14 at 7:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at Cleburne Golf Links on 2501 Country Club Rd, Cleburne. To sign up, visit mowjec.org/30th-annual-golf-benefit or call the Ellis County office at (972)-351-9943.

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Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer

(469)-517-1450