CASA

Shirley Holland, left, and Todd Mitchem pose with the sponsor sign from this year’s CASA Golf Scramble. The event attracted over 30 teams to this year’s event at Big Spring Lake Golf Club and raised over $30,000 for the group, their biggest year ever.

A big turnout meant big money for the Care Associates System for the Aging and Homebound (CASA) of Marshall County last weekend, as a record number of golfers turned out to Big Spring Lake Golf Course in Albertville to raise money for the organization.

According to Shirley Holland, CASA’s Executive Director, and Todd Mitchem, the Chair of the Golf Fundraiser Committee, this was the biggest year in the history of the event, both in terms of players and dollars raised.

“This was our 18th annual CASA Golf Scramble,” Holland explained. “And this funds about 25 percent of what we do annually, but this year was so much bigger that it will probably fund more like 30 percent, or allow us to increase our services.”

According to Holland, the event brought in over $30,000 for the group, an increase of just under $9,000 more than their previous best mark.

The event, hosted by Pilgrim’s and the Gene and Helen Gesch Group, attracted 32 playing teams, plus more sponsored teams for around 140 total golfers in the event. The event drew so many teams, according to Mitchem, that for the first time ever they had morning and afternoon tee times during the day, with Chik-Fil-A of Guntersville providing the morning snack and lunch for all the golfers and volunteers.

“The community just really rallied and supported,” Mitchem said. “We grossed over $10k more than we ever have, and netted $8,800 more than we ever had.”

CASA aims to serve the elderly in Marshall County who are low income and have little or no family support, often living on around $700 a month, or are without ways to travel to places they need to get to.

With that boost in funding, CASA, which is also supported by the United Way, hopes to be able to offer more of the services they currently do, which includes giving people rides to hospitals, both in and out of Marshall County, building wheelchair ramps at homes, and even things as simple as sending cards, calling people at home, or going to visit them at home. But the extra funds also have the group eyeing new ideas and ways to expand their reach and help those in need, particularly after COVID hit hard over the past year.

“There’s something new we’re finding with COVID, people feel isolated, so people who don’t have family, and volunteers can’t go out as much as they used to, so we’re finding they’re very isolated,” Holland said. “We’re trying something new and asking what three things we can do for them that would make things better, small things like a house coat, slippers, lotion, why can’t we do that? So, we’re trying to generate funding to do that and grant their wish to make life better. That’s where some of that money will go.”

The big fundraising day can be attributed to a couple factors, according to Holland: People wanting to play in these fundraiser golf tournaments after many of them were wiped out last year, and people who may not have been affected as much by the pandemic wanting to find ways to help others out.

“I think people have a heart for others right now a little more than usual,” Holland added. “General contributions are up a little bit, because if you’re lucky enough to not be affected, then you want to help people who were. So, some of the bigger companies that did well want to help others who aren’t doing well.”

Holland also noted that the event brought in 12 new sponsors this year, which she credits to CASA having a number of new board members, which in turn has increased their reach in the local business community. In addition to the sponsors, the event offered a number of prizes up for its contestants, including things like donated rounds of golf at courses across Marshall County, and even up in the Huntsville area.

Those interested in helping CASA are asked to visit their website at www.casamarshallcounty.org, or by emailing Shirley Holland at shirleyholland7@live.com. The group’s next big fundraiser is set for July 26 when they host their Corks & Chefs event. CASA is a 501©3 organization, and a community partner agency with United Way of Marshall County.

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