Thanks to the generosity of local residents, and the John Deere Classic, more than 400 local charities will receive some welcome and significant financial help. Today the annual Birdies for Charity program passed out the proceeds from last summer's PGA tournement. Each year, people pledge to charities based on the number of birdies scored by the professional golfers. And this year the pledges, boosted by gifts from the tournement and the John Deere Foundation, add up to 6.3 million dollars.
Karen Laughlin, from the River Bend Food Bank in Moline, says the money will support their back-pack program, which sends food home on weekends for kids so they won't go hungry.
"The kids get the school breakfast and lunch, but then the weekend comes and they're without food, certainly without nutritious food. We know sometimes this package of food is the difference between whether their little tummies hurt from hunger or not."
Executive director, Jody Cook, says Ballet Quad Cities will use its Birdies money to expand its bullying prevention program. The troupe goes to schools and performs the well-known children's story, "The Ugly Duckling."
"We take this program to first graders who can really identify with the trouble the Ugly Ducking is having and how very sad she is. And it's just not right to be mean to somebody who's different."
Birdies will help Casa Quad Cities support a variety of programs and services, according to spokeswoman Kristi Siwajek, including their bi-lingual pre-schools in Moline and Davenport.
Also grateful for the help is Leigh Germanis, development director for the Women's Choice Center in Bettendorf. This money will support their clinic for women facing un-planned pregnancies.
(photo: Tournement Chairman, Bart Baker, announces this year's total for the Birdies for Charity program)