Over 50 percent of people in any part of the Orlando area live in poverty, a rate based on the U.S. poverty guidelines. If not living in poverty, then part of that percentage struggle to afford basic needs according to United Against Poverty and a 2018 report by United Way.
Through the dedication of volunteer staff time, Complete Care along with extensive help of Bowled Over Promotions was able to host its second annual charity golf tournament benefiting United Against Poverty (UP). What started out as a rainy morning on Friday, turned out to be a great afternoon for golfers who came out to the Eagle Creek Golf Club to show their support.
Being hosted for the first time in the Lake Nona community, the tournament aimed to raise at least $20,000. Golfers from last year’s tournament, hosted in Shingle Creek, recommended the Eagle Creek location to Complete Care, according to COO Shelby Reid.
Over 80 golfers came out to the tournament, about a 10 percent increase from last year. Golfers were able to join in teams of two or four based on their preferences. While the previous year required more marketing, golfers came out mainly due to word-of-mouth this year. Despite the morning rain, golfers were eager to come out and show their support for the cause, said Reid.
Rachel Cuevas, facilities operations manager for Complete Care mentioned, with a game of 18 holes, golfers were able to play with additional competitions and events to help raise more money. One of the newest events included drinking a cold beer on a hot and humid day. At the 10th hole, golfers were able to make a donation to hit their ball off a beer can and pick up from where the team’s farthest ball landed.
In another event, long drive professional Rob Tiettmeyer also came out to the tournament to host one of its competitions. After taking his best shot, golfers could pick up from where Tiettmeyer’s shot landed. If teams were able to get the ball in the hole within two strokes, they would qualify for a prize valued at $5,000. Any qualifying team would get the chance to win an American Airlines airfare to San Francisco, CA allowing for a two-night stay at The Lodge at Pebble Beach. Amidst the mix of a stormy morning, an 18-hole tournament, and multiple competitions, golfers all showed sheer enthusiasm for the cause to help those living in poverty. In the enjoyment of it all, those who participated shared the unified vision of Complete Care and UP.
Complete Care began looking for a charity to give back to. Based on that idea that the community had already given so much to the company, they wanted to give back in a unique way. UP is a charity that holds a place close to one of the owners of Complete Care, Dr. Marc Ott. Ever since the two groups started their relationship in 2017, UP has been able to develop its organization, mentioned Reid. UP, also known as UP Orlando, is a downtown-based charitable organization that helps families living in poverty. With their major service programs, they are a group that looks to give a hand up instead of a handout, according to Executive Director Eric Gray.
“We aren’t the wealthiest of nonprofit organizations, but Complete Care coming on board two years ago has allowed us to invest in our facilities in a way that we’ve never done before,” Gray said. In the two years the groups have worked together, there has been a dramatic increase in the people UP has been able to serve. From lifting two families out of poverty in 2017, UP has been able to lift 48 families out of poverty in this past year, according to Gray.
The relationship, though rather new, has a strong future ahead. By hosting charity events such as the annual golf tournament, or volunteering directly with UP, Complete Care has been able to see the positive impact in the lives of those benefitting from UP, Reid mentioned. “Having over 50 percent of the [Orlando] population in working poor, these are people that are really trying to work hard for their families and it’s worth giving back to,” Reid