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Golf tournament raises $233K for food bank

Proceeds for refrigerated space being matched by businessman

POSTED: October 6, 2011 11:30 p.m.

The Georgia Mountain Food Bank is just months from occupying a new facility that will for the first time be able to store frozen and refrigerated food — thanks in part to a benefit golf tournament held Thursday.

The 20th annual Medical Center Open raised $233,830 to allow the food bank to construct freezer and refrigerated space at its planned 20,000-square-foot facility off Calvary Church Road, about a mile south of Candler Road.

"It opens up a whole new attitude for them," said Nancy Colston, executive director of The Medical Center Foundation.

Colston said the tournament proceeds are being matched by retired Atlanta businessman Walter Boomershine, a food bank board member the past three years, meaning the total donation will be $467.660.

The goal was to raise $155,000 from the tournament at the Chicopee Woods Golf Course and the $233,830 is a record for the event, Colston said. "That is the most we have ever raised."

The food bank, an affiliate of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, serves nonprofit agencies throughout the region, including Hall, Lumpkin, Forsyth, Dawson and Union counties.

It is now housed in space donated by Hollis Transport & Logistics at 4515 Cantrell Road, Flowery Branch.

"A lack of on-site cooler/freezer space at the Food Bank's current location has limited the amount of fresh produce, milk, cheese, meat, and other refrigerated items that can be made available to those in need. With this cooler space, the GMFB will not have to turn away truck loads of donated products because they lack the capacity to store it," Colston said.

Kay Blackstock, the food bank's executive director, said the golf tournament contribution "is going to insure" fresh food will be available at a time when the need is up and the food supply is down.

Donated food had to be turned over quickly because of the lack of freezer and refrigeration capabilities, she said. Now there will be about 3,000 square feet for cold storage and 15,000 to 16,000 square feet for dry storage.

The new facility, the Boomershine Family Logistics Center, could be in operation by February, Blackstock said.

The 2-acre site was donated by Gainesville businessman Jim Walters. The project is estimated to cost between $1.5 million and $2 million.

And then there were the 216 golfers who paid a minimum $200 entry fee, more than 200 tournament sponsors and around 150 event volunteers who made Thursday's contribution possible.

"It's very much a community support tournament," Colston said.

Since 1997, more than $2 million has been given back to the community from the proceeds of the tournament, Colston said.

"The beneficiary always is a nonprofit involved in improving the community's health," she said.

Past recipients include Good News health clinic, Meals on Wheels, Challenged Child and Friends, CASA and the school nurse program.

 



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