By Joel Hall
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, men over age 55 from the Lake Spivey Men's Senior Golf Association come together, pitch in a few dollars, and challenge each other to tournaments with cash purses at the Lake Spivey Golf Course.
Once a year, the excess funds and additional money generated by a group auction are given to a needy organization.
This year, the golf association gave $3,200 to Clayton County Senior Services in order to keep its Meals on Wheels program on track.
Ray Morgan, president of the golf association, said in addition to sharing the love of golf, the organization is about helping the community. In November, the group hosted a charity auction of gently-used items belonging to members such as golf clubs, umbrellas, oil lamps and vacuum cleaners.
Morgan, 83, who spent several years delivering meals for Meals on Wheels, said the funds from the auction will help meals "get to the people who deserve them.
"We bring in different things like clubs we aren't using anymore ... something that is in good condition that can be auctioned off," he said. "It brings in a few bucks and every once in a while, people go a little wild on it because it's for charity."
Morgan said the group is proud of being able to "say that we are doing a little bit of good in the community."
Mary Byrd, Clayton County Senior Services administrator, said the county's Meals on Wheels program delivers approximately 200 meals a day, five days a week, once a day, to elderly and disabled Clayton County residents.
With Clayton County Senior Services facing a 6 percent state funding cut, the Meals on Wheels program recently risked cutting back on its deliveries, she said.
"A large part of our program depends on grant funding, so any cuts we have to evaluate quickly," said Byrd. "We were asked [by the state] to reevaluate our services. We were probably looking at cutting back 10 to 12 clients and that's a lot. Some people save what they have [delivered at lunch] for dinner, so they are really waiting on these meals."
Byrd said the board of the county's Senior Services Aging Program has raised $40,000 over the last eight months for the Meals on Wheels program. She said the golf association's donation gives the program an added "cushion."
"It was an unexpected blessing," said Byrd. "It gives us a jump-start on any additional cuts. Some counties are having to put their seniors on what they call a waiting list. We're able to do business as usual because of these donations."