Birdies for Charity collects $6.32 million for organizations

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Success at the John Deere Classic leads to money in the bank with Birdies for Charity.

The $6.32 million tally will help some 464 local charities. They also received a 10% bonus from tournament revenues and a matching grant from the John Deere Foundation.

The River Bend Food Bank's Caren Laughlin was among those picking up a check on Friday. It totals nearly $8,000.

That money will enhance a backpack program, which provides food to youngsters at area schools. Stats show that one in five local children are living with hunger.

This cash infusion will provide crucial assistance.

"Because of this generosity, we're able to feed the families that we can feed," she said.

Churches United received a check for some $7,700. The organization operates 25 food pantries and three meal sites with volunteers.

The pantry at Christ United Methodist Church in East Moline recently finished its busiest month ever. Many of those 1,200 clients also get food stamps.

"Are we giving them as much food as we possibly can?" asked Anne Wachal, acting executive director for Churches United. "But at the same time, we know that we're seeing more and more people, more and more families."

Additional cuts could still slice deeply into the food stamp program. The Senate wants to cut $4 billion over the next 10 years, but the House wants to slice $40 billion over the same time frame.

"We're at the point right now of struggling to meet the demand," Laughlin said. "The cut in food stamps is only going to increase the demand."

That makes Birdies for Charity even more important. A caring community is reaching out to help local organizations.

"The organizations are all going to get 100% of what we collect for them," said Kristy Ketcham Jackson, director of Birdies for Charity. "And they're all going to get an extra bonus."

From the Classic to the Quad Cities, bountiful birdies at a critical time.