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Going the extra mile at the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn

October 15, 2012

By Samantha Huecker, Special to Together.PGATOUR.com

Greather Hickory Classic at Rock Barn volunteers Phyllis Young (left) and Nancy Hilderbran

CONOVER, N.C.— For the last decade, the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn presented by Kia Motors has enjoyed incredible dedication from its awesome army of volunteers, but for the 10th anniversary tournament, this battalion of more than 500 is also making a very different yet vital contribution.

When Greater Hickory Classic volunteers Phyllis Young and Nancy Hilderbran arrived for their tournament shifts this year, they brought with them food donations for Shuford Elementary School’s Pack-A-Bag program, a plan developed to help ensure weekend nourishment of almost 60 percent of the Shuford student body. This effort to collect food for hungry children fits perfectly into the PGA TOUR’s “Together, Anything’s Possible” campaign. 

“Last year, we did the same drive and came away with three SUVs full of food,” Greater Hickory Classic player services vice chairman Jim Ten Kate said.  “This year we hope to help these kids in the same way. It’s a wonderful program that is so very important for our community, and we are honored to be able to help.”

Volunteers serving all PGA TOUR, Champions Tour and Web.com Tour events enjoy giving back to their communities by contributing their time to these important community events. These tournaments are all about raising money for charities, and the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn is no different.  In nine years the tournament has raised nearly $1.1 million for Hickory-area charities despite the challenging economic environment.

The Pack-A-Bag program at Shuford has been in place for five years now, sending nearly 300 students home with food on the weekends.  The program strives to collect easily prepared, healthy food options.  Items include Easy Mac, canned vegetables, fruit cups and granola bars.

It costs between $500 and $600 per week to fund the program at Shuford.  While raising this sum seems like an improbable feat, Shuford finds a great deal of help from other organizations within the community. Catawba County Social Services and the Newton Food pantry are two entities that have provided in the past.

For a group of seasoned volunteers, most who have been with the Greater Hickory Classic since its start in 2003, donating pantry staples is a rewarding opportunity. “I’m in my 10th year as a volunteer,” retiree Nancy Hilderbran said. “I come back to see the other workers and to give back to the community.  I think the Pack-A-Bag (program) is a great drive to be a part of.”

Nancy’s partner in giving, Phyllis Young, agrees.  “I live at Rock Barn, so it’s easy for me to get involved.  I’m happy to give a couple weeks of my time for charity, especially when it meets a need in the community.”

And the Shuford Pack-a-Bag program is one of the most important for the community.

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