Local charities benefit from golf tournament donations

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A few deserving non-profit organizations took home checks to help them continue to do good in South Mississippi thanks to the Rapiscan Systems Tournament.

"At the end of the day, it's about supporting the local community, and building them up, and continue to make them better and continue to grow," said Stephen Schoettmer, the Rapiscan Systems Classic Director.

It's called "Birdies Charity", and the way it works is each birdie made by a PGA champion during the Rapiscan tournament generates money for an eligible charity. The charities that raised at least $1000 got a check based on the tour's matching funds program.

"But this is some of the things you don't see every day, the ability to give back to the 20 something charities," said Schoettmer.

One of those charities is the Salvation Army Kroc Center. The money helps kids who wouldn't be able to afford access to the center's many programs like drama and music.

"It provides a membership to the facility, but it also provides for camps like we have basketball. We have a huge basketball group here," said Major Gary Sturdivant, the regional commander for the Salvation Army.

Sturdivant says he realized just how much the money helps the community when he met a mother whose son has autism.

"She was able to bring him in here in the water features and that sort of thing, and it just really brought out his personality," added Sturdivant.

Sturdivant says the community in South Mississippi has a huge impact on the Salvation Army which in turn has an impact on the kids the Army serves.

"But man, she said this has made a huge impact in his life," added Sturdivant.

And there are so many other kids who need a place like this one. About 100 kids are in the basketball program. If not for the scholarships provided through fundraisers, these kids wouldn't be able to pursue their passions.

This year the tournament doubled their total amount by fundraising $467,567.25.

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