The first Sunday in November for the past 12 years, longtime Yarmouth Food Pantry Board Member Becky White has been doing the same thing without fail: overseeing a full day of fun and games at the annual Turkey Shoot event she co-founded with friends.
The event features a golf tournament at Bass River Golf Course in South Yarmouth, with teams of four competing for first, second and third place, which is followed by post-tournament celebration with food and beverage and plenty of fundraising activities, including an auction and raffle.
How It All Started
“We started doing the Turkey Shoot the first year that the food pantry was open,” Becky recalls. She was working at Bayberry Golf Course at the time, and said to her girlfriends, “We should do a golf tournament–that would be so much fun.” She remembers asking where they should donate the proceeds from the tournament, and a girlfriend replied: “My friend just started the Yarmouth Food Pantry. It just opened two months ago.”
The first Turkey Shoot raised $12,500. With a blue bank bag in hand, Becky recalls walking into the newly opened food pantry during a food distribution night and handing over the tournament proceeds to the executive director, “who nearly fell over in her chair,” she remembers. Becky was promptly offered a seat on the board of directors, a position she has held ever since.
A Day in the Life
Twelve years later, it’s 9 a.m. at the Bass River Golf Course in West Yarmouth, on the first Sunday in November, and a field of golf players are just beginning to tee off, but for Becky and her friends, who’ve spent the past five months preparing for the event, this moment represents the final leg of this season’s Turkey Shoot fundraiser.
Over the past few months, Becky and her friends have been “hitting the pavement,” soliciting businesses in the Yarmouth and Dennis area, writing emails and requesting donations for the post-tournament auction and raffles, which she tracks meticulously in a spreadsheet to later feature in a 10-page brochure thanking all donors.
Donated items vary year to year, but in the past have included round-trip tickets to Nantucket from Cape Air®; tickets to sporting events, museums and aquariums; and gift certificates for restaurants.
At the Turkey Shoot, there are a half dozen volunteers, plus the Dennis-Yarmouth Golf team who help with cart setup. “I shame all my friends and family into helping me,” Becky jokes.
While the golf tournament is taking place, some volunteers head over to the Sons of Erin restaurant to prepare for the reception. By 1 p.m., golfers will begin to trickle over to the restaurant, where food and beverages are served, bids are taken for auction items and raffle tickets for the lottery tree and mystery box are sold. Last year’s mystery box raffle giveaway was a golf GPS wristband. And by 5 p.m. the event will be over, until next year.
“It’s a fun day where people can have something to eat, an alcoholic beverage, and just hang out with their friends,” says Becky about the annual event, which has raised almost $200,000 to date.