Representatives with the Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft today deemed the inaugural tournament a success with a $600,000 donation to the retailer’s Simply Give program, which advances its mission of helping Midwest food pantries restock their shelves and improve the quality of life within the region. Rookie superstar Mirim Lee of South Korea took home the trophy at the inaugural LPGA Tour event, which took place at Blythefield Country Club Aug. 7-10, but the real winners are the families who will benefit from the donation.
“From the great weather to the enthusiastic crowds, the Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft was a complete success in its first year and will have a longstanding impact for a long time coming,” Meijer President J.K. Symancyk said. “The tournament afforded us an unmatched opportunity to raise awareness and funding to address hunger in the Midwest. We cannot thank the community enough for the way they embraced this tournament to help make a difference to those in need.”
While attendance figures are not yet available, representatives from Meijer and the LPGA said the tournament exceeded expectations of a first year event.
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“We are thrilled with the response and turnout that we received from the Grand Rapids community at the inaugural Meijer LPGA Classic,” LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said. “With that continued community support, and the backing and vision of our partners at Meijer, Kraft and Blythefield Country Club, we look forward to building a new tradition in West Michigan that will only get stronger over time.”
Meijer began its Simply Give program in November 2008 and has since generated more than $9 million for its food pantry partners. The contributions donated as a result of the Meijer LPGA Classic are due, in large part, to the generous Meijer customers who attended the tournament week events, and the sponsors who helped make the event a success.
The $600,000 donation will be divided among the retailer’s estimated 200 food pantry partners participating in the fall Simply Givecampaign, which runs through Sept. 27. Of that total donation, $40,000 will be divided equally among four food pantries chosen byCarla Hall, co-host of ABC Daytime’s lifestyle series, “The Chew,” after winning the Meijer LPGA Celebrity Chef Cookoff presented by Kraft. Carla beat out two other nationally-acclaimed chefs – Cat Cora and Gail Simmons – after the event’s guests voted on their favorite menus. Hall chose the following food pantries to receive $10,000 each:
“Without the Simply Give program, our shelves would literally be bare,” said Waverly Knight, Assistant Director of Northwest Food Pantry in Grand Rapids, which feeds about 150 families each week. “Every week, there are new families coming to our pantry, some of which have never been inside a food pantry. Life happens a little too much, and we are very grateful for how the Meijer Simply Give program helps us feed people in our neighborhood.”
To participate in the Simply Give program, customers can purchase a $10 donation card at their local Meijer store, which will be converted into a Meijer food-only gift card and given to the food pantry selected by the store. Meijer will stretch every customer’s donation further Sept. 4-6 in recognition of Hunger Action Month. That means for every $10 donation card purchase, Meijer will contribute $20, resulting in a total $30 donation.
To learn more about the Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft, view a video that highlights the week’s many activities and the significance of the donation. In addition, please visit the Meijer Newsroom for more information, including sharable photos.
A crowd of enthusiastic fans lined the ropes at Blythefield Country Club Aug. 7-10 to watch a competitive field of 144 world-class golfers play 72 holes of stroke play. Ultimately, Mirim Lee claimed her first LPGA Tour victory with a birdie on the second hole of a playoff against fellow South Korean Inbee Park. Lee tamed the course, carding a 2-under 69 to match Park at 14-under 270. Park, the former world No. 1 with four major championships, was outpaced by one shot, closing with a 70.
“I was 100 percent nervous because (it was) my first time in playoff on LPGA so I’m really nervous, but very fun,” Lee said. “Inbee is like a hero in Korea. She is a very good player so I try to follow her.”
The inaugural tournament marks the LPGA Tour’s first stop in Michigan since 2000 when the Oldsmobile Classic in East Lansing ended its 9-year-run, as well as the first annual golf event in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula since 2009 when the PGA TOUR hosted the Buick Open in Grand Blanc.