Golf tournament benefits Meals on Wheels

Kendall Helm putts her ball on Monday, July 22, 2019, while another member of her team, Tory Tedder-Loffland, watches during the Meals on Wheels annual golf tournament at The Trails Golf Club, 3200 S Berry Road. The fundraising tournament helps support the efforts of the organization, which delivers meals to senior citizens in Norman.

(Cody Giles / The Transcript)

Norman's golfers showed off their swings Monday in support of Meals on Wheels.

With the support of Bare Property Management and other sponsors, Meals on Wheels held its annual Norman Golf Scramble at The Trails Golf Club.

“I think people really enjoy [the tournament], and a lot of them are really loyal supporters, donors, volunteers that come out to help us,” said Lynn Haynes, Meals on Wheels executive director. “It helps to feed the ill, disabled and elderly here in Norman.”

Eskimo Sno brought snow cones and Embassy Suites Norman Hotel & Conference Center supplied lunch to keep the participants hydrated and energized during the five-hour tournament.

“We loved all the participation with the community and the amount of people that came out today … for such a great cause,” tournament participant Tyler McManaman said.

At about 1:30 p.m., the golfers gathered inside to cool off and browse raffle and auction items.

Auction items included a sterling silver bracelet provided by Mitchell’s Jewelry, two Oklahoma City Thunder basketball game tickets donated by Lance and Tonya Almond, a painting by Tim Kenney, a three-day getaway to Branson, Missouri, courtesy of Reynolds Auto Group and many other items and gift baskets.

Summer McGuire, Meals on Wheels associate director, said about $30,000 worth of services and items were donated for the tournament.

“They have tons of sponsors that support Meals on Wheels, so we all get together and all the money raised goes to the program,” said Dee Cody, Embassy Suites Norman Hotel & Conference Center events director. “Literally 100 percent of everything that’s raised goes right back to Meals on Wheels.”

Haynes said the community doesn’t realize how expensive it is to deliver about 300 meals per day.

“It costs about $20,000 per month to provide the meals," Haynes said. “We have to have a minimum of 105 drivers each week.”

Haynes said funding has been stretched even thinner in recent years, because Meals on Wheels has seen about a 25 percent increase in their number of clients.

“We’ve had kind of a senior population explosion, and we’re just always needing more help,” Haynes said.

Haynes said the seniors served by Meals on Wheels are an overlooked and isolated population.

“A lot of people don’t think about homebound seniors, because you don’t see them in the community,” Haynes said. “For a lot of our clients, the volunteer is the only person they’re going to see during the day.”

Haynes said last year’s tournament raised about $6,000, and she expects this year’s raised twice as much.