A handshake, a hug or a heartfelt “thank you” will be greeting spectators at the Sanderson Farms Championship, set for Oct. 27-30 at the Country Club of Jackson.
A new addition to the state's only PGA TOUR event is a Children's of Mississippi welcoming committee made up of Batson Children's Hospital patients and their families along with Children's of Mississippi medical professionals and staff members. Employees can volunteer now at http://signup.com/go/FsBX64.
“This year, we want to show our gratitude to the many Sanderson Farms Championship spectators who attend the tournament not only because they love golf but because they support Batson Children's Hospital,” said Guy Giesecke, CEO of Children's of Mississippi, the umbrella organization that includes the hospital as well as all UMMC pediatric care.
Funds raised through the tournament are given by event host Century Club Charities to Friends of Children's Hospital. The nonprofit group that raises money for Batson Children's Hospital announced in August its pledge of $20 million to the Children's of Mississippi capital campaign aimed at expanding and renovating the state's only children's hospital.
Last year's tournament raised $1.109 million, and since Sanderson Farms became title sponsor of the event in 2013, more than $2.7 million has been donated to Friends of Children's Hospital.
The welcoming committee “is something we've wanted to add for some time,” said tournament executive director Steve Jent. “We're excited to add this connection between Children's of Mississippi and the Sanderson Farms Championship.”
Greeting spectators isn't the only opportunity to support the tournament. The event website, SandersonFarmsChampionship.com, is the sign-up location for volunteers. Jent and tournament volunteer coordinator Kacie Towles see plenty of them.
“We couldn't hold the tournament without them,” Jent said. “They're the lifeblood of the Sanderson Farms Championship.”
About 1,000 volunteers serve in positions ranging from gallery marshals to standard bearers, hospitality to parking.
Towles said there are about 700 volunteers signed up so far, including some from as far as Arkansas and Louisiana.
“They come every year,” she said. “Some will take off a week of work to be a Sanderson Farms Championship volunteer. We make it fun for them and have raffles and prizes, but they also enjoy the camaraderie among the volunteers and the excitement of the tournament. It's also special to them because they know the funds raised go to support Friends of Children's Hospital, and that is meaningful.”