How to describe Emergency Food Network’s charity trap shooting event, held on Friday, September 7?
“It’s like a golf tournament, only with guns.” That’s how Breaking Hunger event coordinator and Emergency Food Network Board Member Darren Schuldheiss described Friday’s Breaking Hunger event. EFN Development Director Jeff Klein spoke to area civic groups, saying “if you like shooting guns, and you like feeding hungry people, this is the event for you.”
While certainly a new and unique and an unconventional approach to raising funds, the final product was a safe, fun day at the Gig Harbor Sportsman’s Club that raised over $10,000 to feed hungry families and individuals in Pierce County. With EFN’s ability to leverage food donations and buy in bulk, this will translate into $120,000 worth of food in the county’s emergency food system.
Schuldheiss came up with the idea for the event shortly after joining EFN’s board and after returning from trap shooting in his home state of Montana. “The fact that more than 110,000 people each month seek emergency food assistance in Pierce County, and 53% are children and seniors–if that doesn’t motivate you to get involved, nothing will. I am humbled to have the opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors of EFN and roll up my sleeves in the fight against hunger.”
Approximately 60 participants took part in the first annual event, which, judging from the good time had by the attendees, is sure to grow next year. Each person took 50 shots at clay targets launched from two different stands. Many were experienced shooters, but a fair number only had a few visits to the range under their belts, or were shooting for the first time. With the help of a crew of range officers from the club, each team of five took turns trying to best one another. Members of the Sportsman’s Club volunteered their time for the event, with participant registration fees covering the cost of shotgun shells and clay targets. Club President Le Rodenberg said after the event, “it was really fun working with everyone from EFN; such dedicated people.”
HomeStreet Bank, KeyBank Foundation, and The Lakewood Officers’ Charity (of the Lakewood Police Department) sponsored the event, and Cabellas and Wilco Farm Stores offered prizes for participants. People say that a bad day at the golf course is better than a good day in the office, and the same was true on Friday as teams enjoyed a barbeque lunch and refreshments after the tournament. Prizes were awarded for the top score, lowest score, top team score, and the biggest award went for the top fundraiser, the KeyBank team.
EFN Executive Director Helen McGovern summed up the event: “Fighting hunger by bringing together folks who enjoyed themselves, made new friends, and crossed off an item on their bucket list—it doesn’t get much better than that! We already have folks signed up for next year as the event’s reputation has already gotten out.”
Emergency Food Network’s mission is “to provide a reliable food supply so that no person in Pierce County goes hungry.” EFN distributes nutritious, staple food to 67 food banks, shelters, and hot meal sites that accommodated 1,285,903 visits in Pierce County in 2011. They do this through a combination of sources, including purchased food, food donated from grocery stores and food distributors, food received from food drives, fruits and vegetables gleaned from residential gardens and area farms, and food grown at EFN’s 8-acre organic Mother Earth Farm, which produced 160,000 pounds of fruits and veggies in 2011, distributed to food banks on the day of harvest. Eighty percent of all food in the county makes its way through EFN’s 22,000 square-foot warehouse in Lakewood. EFN has an administrative overhead of less than 4%. In a down economy, more families and individuals turn to emergency food programs to get by from week to week and month to month. EFN is the primary distributer of emergency food in the county, distributing $12 worth of food for every $1 donated. With the demand at food programs increasing nearly 50% since 2008, EFN’s efficiency and reliability is more important than ever.
For information about Emergency Food Network, to donate, or to learn about volunteer opportunities, visit www.efoodnet.org.