Like any PGA Tour player on the Tour’s biggest stage, Billy Horschel plans on making as many birdies and eagles as he can during The Players Championship May 10-13.
They’ll do more than reward good shots: they’ll help feed hungry people in an eight-county area of North Florida.
Horschel, a four-time Tour winner and the 2014 FedEx Cup champion, announced on Tuesday during an appearance at Feeding Northeast Florida, that he will donate $1,000 for every birdie and $5,000 for every eagle he makes at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass during The Players, and is asking fans to join him in donating to the organization.
The Players Championship got the campaign off to a huge start: $500,000 was donated to Feeding Northeast Florida, which will equal 3 million meals to those in need. FNEF needs to provide 50 million meals per year to ensure everyone who faces hunger has access to food.
For every $1 donated, FNEF can provide six meals. The charity works with restaurants and grocery stores to recover food that might otherwise be thrown out of wasted and distributes the food to local hunger-relief organizations.
“As a player on the PGA Tour, we get to see first-hand how our tournaments benefit the communities where we play,” said Horschel, a former University of Florida player who has made his home in Ponte Vedra Beach. “As a resident here in the Jacksonville area, I’m proud of the work The Players does for organizations like Feeding Northeast Florida.”
“This generous $500,000 grant from The Players will allow us to continue investing in organizations that help break the cycle of poverty, giving local children and families, seniors and veterans hope for a better future,” said Frank Castillo, interim CEO of Feeding Northeast Florida. “We are proud to partner with The Players — an organization dedicated to positively impacting Northeast Florida.”
One such person who has been helped was Chantrae Cottingham, who was helped by Daily Manna Serving Center, a Feeding Northeast Florida partner agency.
In desperate need of a fresh start, she relocated from Cincinnati to Jacksonville with only $100 in her pocket and two suitcases. Upon her arrival in Jacksonville, she, sought financial help from Catholic Charities and Clara White Mission, two Feeding Northeast Florida partners.
Because of their help, she was able to secure a job and begin taking classes at FSCJ. Continuing to struggle financially, she was directed to Daily Manna Serving Center, where she began receiving weekly boxes of food.
In 2016 Cottingham received her Associate in Science degree from FSCJ and credits Daily Manna Serving Center with saving her life. Because of the organization, she has been able to rebound without the worry of having food and nourishment throughout a difficult time.
“I’m so thankful to Feeding Northeast Florida and its partner, Daily Manna Serving Center, for saving my life. I moved to Jacksonville to escape a life of pain, drug and alcohol abuse in hopes for a better future,” said Cottingham. “Because of the food I received from Daily Manna, I was able to work, take classes at FSCJ, and ultimately graduate from my program top of my class. You can’t focus on an empty stomach – and thankfully, because of that help, I didn’t have to struggle anymore.”
Horschel said he and his wife Brittany, a Nease High graduate (both graduated from the University of Florida) have made it their charitable mission to help FNEF.
“It’s important for me and my family and our life,” he said. “When we made the decision to support Feeding Northeast Florida four years ago, we saw the kids and the families affected by hunger in this community and it touched our hearts. No kids should have to go to bed not knowing where their next meal is going to come from. Brittany and I felt like, with our platform on the PGA Tour and the blessings we receive as part of what we do, that we could play a role in raising awareness and raising money. We felt like we could make a difference.”
Feeding Northeast Florida estimates that one in six adults and one in four children in the area are “food insecure” — defined as not always knowing where their next meal will come from.
Estimates are that nearly 300,000 people in the area (and more than 81,000 children) will go to sleep hungry on any given night.
Additional information on Feeding Northeast Florida can be found at the organization’s web site.