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Jim and Tabitha Furyk Foundation host sixth annual Hope for the Holidays

December 8, 2017

By Doug Milne, PGA TOUR Staff

Perhaps more so than anything else, Jim Furyk is known for some seriously low numbers.

In round two of the 2013 BMW Championship, Furyk became just the sixth player to post a 59 on the PGA TOUR. Three years later, the 17-time TOUR winner posted a 12-under 58 in the final round of the 2016 Travelers Championship.

On Thursday, however, Furyk’s goal was to go big. The higher the number, the better.

At the sixth annual Jim & Tabitha Furyk Foundation’s Hope for the Holidays event, student volunteers from local schools congregated at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall to help fill bags for food insecure children in the Northeast Florida community. The first year, 500 bags were filled. This past week, over 3,500 bags were filled with canned ham, green beans, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cornbread, cereal and special treats.

“When we started, I think we filled less than 1,000 bags,” said Jim Furyk. “This year, we’ll pack close to 4,000 bags. So, there has been a lot of growth. Thanks for a lot of that being made possible goes to our community and our partners, Publix, PepsiCo., Trader Joe’s, Target and ‘Feeding Northeast Florida.’ So, we have a lot of great partners and a great community to make it all happen.”

“The motivation was helping kids around the community who need help and to also make it possible for kids in the community to give back,” said Tabitha Furyk. “By this, we mean helping prepare meals and fill backpacks.”

This year, Feeding Northeast Florida joined forces with the Jim & Tabitha Foundation to help make the event more impactful than ever. Feeding Northeast Florida is the community’s largest hunger relief organization and food bank. Annually, it provides more than 12 million meals to the eight counties it services.

“It is hard not to hear about the impact that the Jim & Tabitha Furyk Foundation has had on those most vulnerable in our community over the past 10 years, especially through Blessings in a Backpack,” said Frank Castillo, interim CEO of Feeding Northeast Florida. “We could not be more excited to be partnered with Jim and Tabitha Furyk and with the young lives that they impact every year. As the largest hunger relief organization in Northeast Florida, we are proud to be able to collaboratively make Jim’s and Tabitha’s vision a reality in our community.”

In Duval County alone, there are more than 47,000 children who are food insecure, meaning they do not know where their next meal is coming from or when it will come.

“The 3,500 holiday food bags are a critical part of bridging this meal gap in our community,” said Castillo. “What is exciting about this distribution is that it is being done in tandem with other programs and partners that the Jim & Tabitha Furyk Foundation support throughout the entire year. And, it is these types of annual support structures that have a lasting impact among those who need it most. For this reason, we are honored to be able to add such a vital partner to the over 100 agencies that we have in Duval County.”

Due to the increased need for assistance this year, the foundation extended its reach of those to benefit from the event to include students from the First Coast Blessing in A Backpack program in Duval and St. Johns County, the Mal Washington Kids Foundation, Hugs across the County and the Anthony J Stinson Association for Change.

The Jim & Tabitha Furyk Foundation is dedicated to helping children and families in need in Northeast Florida. The Foundation supplies food for underprivileged students and care for children with life-threatening conditions. The Foundation also helps families of sick children with shelter, healthcare and safety programs.

"This is home,” Jim said. “Tabitha is from Ohio and I’m from Pennsylvania, but we’ve been here for over 20 years now. I’ve lived longer than I’ve lived anywhere else in my life. We started raising our children here, our charitable foundation is here. So, Northeast Florida is our home and always will be.”

And, thanks largely to the Jim & Tabitha Foundation’s Hope for the Holidays event, a great number of children who also call Northeast Florida home will rest a little easier this holiday season.

“I was driving here today in the rain and actually started crying because it’s just amazing how many people have come into play to make this happen,” said Tabitha. “The PGA TOUR, their employees, the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall just to give us the facility. And then, just all day we’ve been receiving donations to help us pay for these bags. To be able to grow from 900 to 3,500, knowing that the need is increasing in our community for kids that are food insecure and all of the people who come out to pack the bags and how important it is to them, just means the world to us.”

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