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Go big or go home: Event looks to raise $30,000 to feed kids

Bags of groceries wait packed and ready for participants of the summer food program, an extension of the school year backpack program in June. River Valley Charities golf tournament on Monday, Sept. 25 will raise money for the backpack program. File photo

With its fourth year, organizers of the Spread Your Wings golf fundraiser decided to aim higher. Last year the event raised $5,000. This year, their goal is even larger — $30,000.

"We're going big or going home," said Nancy Martel, one of the organizers.

All the proceeds from the event benefit backpack programs at local St. Croix Valley schools including Hudson, River Falls, New Richmond and Hammond/Roberts (St. Croix Central). These programs feed hungry students over the weekend, when they can't rely on meals from school. Food is sent home with the children in backpacks.

In Hudson, the program has continued to expand over the years. Last year it fed 165 students in kindergarten through middle school. With the funds raised by the last Spread Your Wings event the program was able to feed kids in the summer too.

The Spread Your Wings event started as a project of Wisconsin Networking Group (WING), which has gone on this year to form a nonprofit River Valley Charities to host the fundraiser and get them to their goal.

"Our group took on the challenge," organizer Tim Jaynes said.

Though the new goal was a big undertaking, organizer Doug Rhode said the group was confident because it is all for the kids.

"To get there in one year is because of the purpose and the passion that people find themselves immediately getting drawn into when it comes to this topic," Rhode said.

This year's event will be held at Troy Burne Golf Club, and the group hopes to have 144 golfers to fill the course, compared to last year's 40 at another location.

To meet the goal, the event is focusing on corporate sponsorship and local awareness.

"The hope would be we create awareness of the need and local corporations know there's an opportunity," Jaynes said.

Already the group will have raised $10,000 by the time the event starts, and will look to the auction for the rest of the goal. Auction items will include vacations, Lasik surgery, a home heating system and more.

Beyond the money raised, Jaynes said the group also wants to raise awareness of the issue, in the community and with local businesses.

"The vision is to influence the change with the business owners that don't know ways they can give back that are directly to the community, that they can have an immediate impact on kids," Jaynes said.

In the end, it's about feeding children.

"There's no reason why any child in the St. Croix County should go hungry," Rhode said.

Spread Your Wings golf fundraiser is Monday, Sept. 25 at Troy Burne Golf Club at 12:30 p.m.; dinner after that is open for registration to anyone. Lisa Rambo will serve as the emcee, and an auctioneer will host the live auction.

Rebecca Mariscal

Rebecca Mariscal joined the Hudson Star Observer as a reporter in 2016. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in communication and journalism. 

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