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Ben and Candace Curtis form foundation to help children in need

May 31, 2013

By Tim Rogers, The Plain Dealer

This article has been reposted courtesy of The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

CLEVELAND, Ohio - It is no secret that family is very important to PGA Tour pro Ben Curtis and his wife, Candace.

So, it comes as no surprise they have founded the Ben Curtis Family Foundation.

"We were watching a television show on hunger and it truly opened our eyes," said Candace Curtis, whose husband has been known to skip tournaments in order to spend more time with his family. "So, we started doing some research and discovered this is a real problem in Northeast Ohio, more specifically, our hometown of Kent."

So, the idea of Ben's Birdie Bags came about and a trial run took place recently with great success.

Partnering with the Akron Food Bank, the Haymaker Farmers Market, and True Vision Marketing of Chagrin Falls and working in conjunction with the Kent schools, the Curtises distributed approximately 160 backpacks to students at Kent's Holden Elementary. Each backpack was filled with three meals and two snacks. The food choices ranged from mac-and-cheese to oatmeal to pasta to cereal to fruit juice. The children were instructed to take them home.

"In the Kent district alone, there are 753 kids on some sort of subsidized lunch program," said Candace, a product of the Kent schools, as well as Kent State. "So, for many, this could be their only meal."

The plan is to distribute the backpacks to the students for all the long weekends, starting with Labor Day and including Thanksgiving, Christmas, Martin Luther King Day, etc.

A questionnaire was included with earlier bags as the Curtises sought feedback from the Holden students and their parents. Plans call for the first official distribution to be sent home on Aug. 30.

"We want to make sure we are meeting the students' needs," said Curtis, the mother of Liam and Addison. "We had a great deal of cooperation from a lot of people."

She had special praise for Julie Troman, the principal at Holden, and assistant superintendent Tom Larkin, as well as her mother Diane Beatty, and sister-in-law Sara Beatty.

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