On July 15, one of Rockford's most popular and longest running traditions returns. It's the 37th annual Rockford Pro/Am. And while for many people it means a fun day of golf and entertainment, to one Loves Park church it means helping area families survive.
"It keeps us from starving to death. It really does," said Sherri Rossi.
A simple bag of food makes a world of difference in Rossi's life.
"I only have a family of three but it helps putting food on the table, even junk food. you know things that we want to eat and it's been a blessing, it really has," she said.
And she's not the only one. In fact, she's one of hundreds.
"I'm ill, my husband is ill with a heart condition and sometimes we can't pay the bills," said Jan Barrett who also utilizes the food pantry.
It's people like Rossi and Barrett, dealing with financial hardships, who turn to and rely on St. Bridget's twice monthly food pantry.
"As you can see by the line, there's hundreds of us who through loss of jobs, disabilities, we're here and we're needing it," said Rossi.
"We serve about 30 families each distribution and a little 600 over every month which constitutes about 2000 people in those households," said St. Bridget Parish Director of Family Ministry Teresa Marotta.
MNaritta has seen the pantry grow from feeding a handful of hungry mouths to a line of starving families. The generosity of parishioners has kept the pantry running the past three-and-a-half years. From volunteering to donating food, they make sure the needy people don't leave empty handed. But as the list of people in need continues to grow, so does the pantry's need for help.
"This year we applied to receive money from the pro am to help buy food. Because we'll spend close to 36,000 this year on food. We spend about $2,000 a month," said Marotta.
This year it's getting that help from the Pro/Am to continue its mission. And those who rely on the kindness of strangers say they couldn't be more grateful for the continued support.
"It warms my heart, it really does because they're taking time out of their daily lives to help me," said Rossi.
A total of six area not-for-profits are benefiting from the Pro/Am including St. Bridget. We'll continue to share their stories leading up to the July 15th event.
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