Sanderson Farms Championship’s mission unchanged
Published on Thursday, October 8, 2020
By: Annie Oeth, firstname.lastname@example.org
Spectators weren’t able to flock to the Country Club of Jackson this year, and gone were the social events that usually surround the Sanderson Farms Championship. The COVID-19 pandemic may have changed the state’s only PGA TOUR event, but its mission of supporting Children’s of Mississippi is unchanged, organizers say. Pictures of patients lined the course, and the mission was integrated in other fun ways.
Sergio Garcia won the 2020 tournament, broadcast on the Golf Channel Oct. 1-4.
“Despite the difficult decisions necessitated by the COVID-19-related precautions, Century Club Charities remains committed to helping the Mississippi charities that depend on the tournament to support their annual operations,” said Pat Busby, president of Century Club Charities, the tournament’s host organization. “We still hope to have a very positive impact on Friends of Children’s Hospital and other Mississippi charities in 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In August, tournament officials, in collaboration with the PGA TOUR, announced that the 53rd Sanderson Farms Championship would be played without spectators.
Twice the winner of the PGA TOUR’s “Best Charity Integration” award for how Children’s of Mississippi has been incorporated into all facets of the event, the Sanderson Farms Championship is meeting the challenge of a pandemic with creativity and community support.
Using the hashtag #AllInForChildrens, the tournament had face masks with the logos of the Sanderson Farms Championship and Children’s of Mississippi for sale at sandersonfarmschampionship.com/mask.
“Our hope is that this campaign helped create a tangible sense of community engagement throughout the state for the Sanderson Farms Championship,” said Joe F. Sanderson Jr., Sanderson Farms CEO and chairman of the board. “Most importantly, we want to raise the dollars donated to Children’s of Mississippi that the 175,000 children treated in the children’s hospital and clinics annually depend on each year.”
The tournament has raised more than $7.7 million to benefit Children’s of Mississippi through Friends of Children’s Hospital since 2013, the year Sanderson Farms became title sponsor. Friends, a nonprofit that raises funds for the state’s only children’s hospital, pledged $20 million to the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi, which is chaired by Sanderson and his wife, Kathy.
In previous years, professional golfers in town for the tournament would stop by Children’s of Mississippi to visit hospital patients. Since visitation during the pandemic has been limited to parents of the patients, the Sanderson Farms Championship brightened the patients’ day in another way.
A flock of chicken backpacks, each stuffed with an activity book, were delivered to Children’s of Mississippi child life specialists to share with patients.
Bringing more color to the effort was watercolorist Wyatt Waters, who is donating 30 percent of sales from his 2020 Sanderson Farms Championship prints to the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi.
"Children’s of Mississippi, the Sanderson Farms Championship and the Sandersons all do so much for our state,” Waters said. “This is a way to show our appreciation.”