Tourney scores $1.1M for food pantries


North Kent Connect Executive Director Claire Guisfredi gives Meijer Executive Chairman Hank Meijer and LPGA player Brittany Benvenuto a tour of the food pantry during the Meijer LPGA Classic. Courtesy Meijer

Brooke Henderson wasn’t the only winner at the 2019 Meijer LPGA Classic at Blythefield Country Club.

Henderson, a 21-year-old Canadian, earned her second Meijer title in three years with a four-day score of 21-under par.

Once again, the big winner was Meijer’s Simply Give program, which received a $1.1 million commitment from the LPGA event.

The funds will go toward stocking the shelves at 246 participating food pantries in the Midwest.

“There are hard-working people in our community who cannot afford to buy fresh fruits and vegetables for their children. They’re forced to make difficult choices every day,” said Claire Guisfredi, executive director of North Kent Connect, north of Grand Rapids.

“Because of the Meijer Simply Give program, we can ease the burden on our working families and seniors. We can provide healthy, wholesome fresh fruits and vegetables, so our clients and children can get the proper nutrition they need to succeed in school and in life. Thank you, Meijer, for this gift that has a ripple effect across the entire community.”

The donation resulted, in large part, from visitors who attended the tournament that started last week and the tournament sponsors. The professional tournament saw 144 golfers compete in 72 holes of stroke play at Blythefield.

“The Meijer LPGA Classic has made an incredible impact on our hungry neighbors," said Rick Keyes, president and CEO, Meijer. "Thanks to the ongoing support from our community, we exceeded our $1 million goal for this year’s tournament. It was a meaningful end to a fun-filled week that kept us on our toes, thanks to Mother Nature.”

The sixth-annual LPGA tournament has generated a total of $5.2 million for the Simply Give program. Simply Give started in 2008 and has resulted in $49 million for its food pantry partners.

"To be a small part of that with the LPGA Tour girls and make sure we're helping out in the community just a little bit, and they're taking huge steps to try to improve the community and help people in it — I think it's just incredible, and I'm just happy to be a part of it,” Henderson said.

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