Swinging into Action: Nemours Children’s Health and The Furyk Foundation Drive Childhood Food Security at THE PLAYERS Championship

Swinging into Action: Nemours Children’s Health and The Furyk Foundation Drive Childhood Food Security at THE PLAYERS Championship

Blessings teamed up for a second year to call attention to childhood food insecurity in the First Coast region at the Kids Zone presented by Nemours Children’s Health during THE PLAYERS Championship Week. Jim and Tabitha Furyk of the Furyk Foundation; Lee Smith, THE PLAYERS Championship Executive Director, Nemours Children’s Health President and CEO; R. Lawrence Moss, Md., Dr. Michael Erhard, President of North Florida region, and Blessings in a Backpack CEO, Erin Kerr all came together to create a memorable day celebrating partnership and impact.

Nemours is thrilled to be partners with Blessings in a Backpack,” said Dr. Moss. “Our interests are totally aligned. Nemours is about creating healthy generations of children, and children cannot grow up healthy without food security.”

Adding to last year’s day of service, 25 Andrew Robinson Elementary students visited the Kids Zone, played mini-golf, and spent time taking pictures in the photo booth. PGA TOUR golfer Jim Furyk and Executive Director of THE PLAYERS, Lee Smith, were on hand to give quick-putting lessons to the children. After enjoying time in the Kids Zone, the students made their way to the tournament, where they watched the final day of practice at THE PLAYERS. 

The event highlighted the growing food insecurity needs in Northeast Florida while underscoring how local organizations are joining together to address hunger. One in every five children in the region doesn’t know when they will be getting their next meal. As Nemours Children’s continues to focus on the whole child, we have been making strides throughout Florida to help children get food.

“Blessings in a Backpack is very excited to be here today at THE PLAYERS with Nemours, and Jim and Tabitha Furyk to really celebrate THE PLAYERS Championship and our partnership to feed over 880 kids together,” said Kerr. “Today is very exciting to have some of those kiddos here with us on the course in this amazing environment to kind of take a break from their school day and celebrate being part of the Jacksonville community.”

In October, Nemours Children’s and the Jim & Tabitha Furyk Foundation partnered to make the 2023-2024 school year hunger-free for local children. The organizations made a joint donation to Blessings in a Backpack. They expanded the program to 880 additional Northeast Florida children facing food insecurity at local elementary schools, including Andrew Robinson Elementary School. 

“I think all of us can realize that you don’t have to go very far from your home community,” said Jim Furyk, PGA TOUR player and Jim & Tabitha Furyk Foundation namesake. “There’s a lot of folks out there that are food insecure. This program revolves around our public school system, and kids on Friday afternoons getting to take a backpack of food home for the weekend. And, there are a lot of families that maybe the kids don’t know where their next meal is coming from.”

About Blessings in a Backpack First Coast Chapter

Hunger has both short- and long-term adverse effects on children’s health and ability to succeed in school. Blessings in a Backpack mobilizes communities, individuals, and resources to provide weekend food for school-aged children across America who might otherwise go hungry. Blessings in a Backpack First Coast Chapter provided 175,700 hunger-free weekends for 4,500 kids in Clay, Duval, Nassau, and St. Johns Counties during the 2022–2023 school year. Visit firstcoast.blessingsinabackpack.org to learn how you can feed the kids in our community this weekend.