Community shows support at field day

Published 8:25 pm Thursday, September 30, 2021

ForKid’s second annual field day was a success as the city came out to support families in Western Tidewater.

Last year, ForKids revamped its small golf tournament for 17 teams of four to a multi-event day to raise money to fight homelessness in Western Tidewater.

The day started with 80 walkers taking a two-mile walk around Cedar Point Country Club. After the walk, pickleball and tennis teams took the court to play. Finishing out the afternoon was a round of golf at the country club’s 18 holes. New to the day was a Par 3 competition for both experienced and inexperienced players.

“People are ready to get out, and this is a great event to allow lots of different people to come together outside and distanced,” said Thaler McCormick, ForKids CEO. “The exciting part of today is the community rallying together for Suffolk and Western Tidewater.”

ForKids’ mission is to break the cycle of homelessness for families and children. Annually, the organization assists more than 70,000 people in 14 cities and counties across southeastern Virginia.

At the Suffolk location, the education center is there to help kids who have fallen behind in school due to their lack of stable housing. Other services include emergency shelter aid, a crisis hotline, supportive housing and employment services. Last year, 91% of families exited to appropriate housing and 92% of kids moved on to the next grade.

“It’s a really great way to grow awareness in Western Tidewater,” said Becky Pinkard, the external relations manager at ForKids. “We’ve been in Suffolk since 2008, and no one knew it. It’s a great way to let the community know we are here and what we do.”

In 2020, due to the pandemic, numbers were small as only 50 people could participate in each event with about three volunteers. Still, the event raised a total of $75,000. This year, the day registered 196 people with 30 volunteers raising around $95,000.

Field Day for Kids had many generous sponsors, including its presenting sponsor, The Louis and Mary Haddad Foundation. Other sponsors included PRA Group, Birdsong Peanuts, Wanda and Les Hall, Jones Brothers Security and Breeden.

“ForKids is a very successful organization helping homeless people become no longer homeless,” said Mary Haddad, president of The Louis and Mary Haddad Foundation. “Like they say, it’s a hand up, not a handout. We have supported ForKids for years and will continue to do so. We are so glad to be here.”

Visiting the event were Suffolk Mayor Mike Duman and City Councilman Lue Ward of the Nansemond Borough. Duman gave a short remark at the start of the shotgun start golf competition, thanking the attendees for their support for this organization that greatly serves Suffolk.

“Lots of times, the city and government cannot be the answer to everybody for everything,” said Duman. “It takes a group effort to be able to address the concerns of all our citizens across the entire 430 square miles.”

With the support of its community, ForKids can continue to serve families facing homelessness as the effects of the pandemic are still affecting many today.