Curtis O'Connor, Belleville Intelligencer

On a sweltering Wednesday afternoon golfers teed off for a cause at Trillium Wood Golf  Club.

Participants took to the green to take part in the 18th annual Hastings and Prince Edward Learning Foundation Charity Golf Tournament, in order to raise money for the organization’s Student Emergency Fund.

With temperatures reaching 32 C and 50 per cent humidity, the tournament was sold out.

The Student Emergency Fund provides funding to various programs such as The Good Backpack program, The Prom Project, The Food For Home program, the Bring Your Own Device program, and the Len and Olive Black Memorial Fund.

Last year the fund raised more than $125,000 for the various programs.

For executive director Maribeth deSnoo the tournament has special importance.

“You know I’m a better person because of this job,” she said.

deSnoo spoke of the intrinsic nature of the fund. “I know some of the circumstances in which the students find themselves… There is still a need for food at home, clothing, and transportation. There are a number of students who are requiring treatment at Sick Kids… There are students who are living with a single grandparent, students who are living with a single parent. There are students who are living on their own, are trying to work and are trying to find their way through school. In our area the biggest feedback I get is ‘how can that be possible?’”

Marion Wilson, principal of Bird’s Creek Public School, described the importance of the fund for students at her school.

“We have a lot of struggling families. It’s an outlet we can go to to help parents with things that, for you and I, might be considered really basic – medications glasses groceries, heat, transportation to appointments. It helps us eliminate some of the barriers that our families face,” she said

Lisa Resmer, principal of York River Public School, echoed Wilson’s sentiment.

“The school that I’m at draws a lot of students who are from low-income families or single-parent families. We get backpacks, we get school supplies. The backpack program is huge because kids can come to school on their first day and know that they have all of the new stuff that they need, so that they don’t stand out,” Resmer said.

“We’ve had different tragedies like fires, where we’ve reached out and been able to access funding to help the families rebuild – clothing, school supplies, things that you wouldn’t even think about that they would lose. It’s been really helpful for us,” she added.

Susan Sweet, current chair of the Hastings and Prince Edward Learning Foundation, talked about the important nature of the foundation’s work.

“I’m a retired educator, so I gravitate towards programs and projects around children and youth in thee community. I feel that the work of the foundation is absolutely essential for kids to be successful in school. They’re not thinking about where they’re going to get a good breakfast or proper clothing – the whole idea of building self esteem. I just think that’s the key to success.”