Live United: Golf event to raise funds for United Way and food banks

Published 8:09 pm Friday, July 10, 2020

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Live United by Erin Haag

Erin Haag


My husband’s parents met while working at a factory. She worked the line, and he was a millwright. My mother-in-law worked there for about 20 years, and my father-in-law retired from there after 36 years. They worked hard and raised their two sons and are extremely proud of the fact that their boys are successful in their chosen careers and have their master’s degrees. When grandchildren came along, they made sure they were contributing to a college fund. My in-laws believe in the importance of education and hard work.

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One Christmas, my mother-in-law gave my husband a set of golf clubs. He does not play golf — it’s not his game. She knew this, but she believed that as he moved up in his career, he would need a set of golf clubs for playing golf with his bosses. She wanted him to have his own set, and not to have to rent from the clubhouse. At the time, we lived in another state. Mom always had the dilemma of wanting to gift presents you could physically open, but recognizing that we couldn’t take it on a plane. Her solution was to have my husband return the golf clubs and rebuy them when he got home. Now, some sons might have taken the money and not returned them. Not my husband. He has a deep sense of integrity, and he had the new clubs within a week. They sat unused for a few years — until my husband had a work golf event. He joked to me that he needed to go get them a little dirty so they’d look broken in instead of brand new. We still have those golf clubs, a tangible representation of their belief that education can bring you not only a path to job security, but the ability to advance in a career.

My mother-in-law likes to feed people. People who have meetings with me are familiar with her cookies. She taught me the importance of fresh mashed potatoes and the best meatballs and gravy. No one has yet to master her sugar cookies though. Each year, she reminds me that she feels strongly about donating to Food for the Poor, because no one should go hungry.

A few months ago, T Time Sports Management wanted to share their talents for corporate events to help the community. They recognized that many nonprofits had their events and revenue interrupted and that would only devastate our communities further. Golf Fore Minnesota was born. This golf statewide fundraiser can be played at any course of your choosing during the week of July 13-19. Statewide, golfers register online at and are entered to receive prizes. Green fees are not included in the registration fee.

Here in Freeborn County, we were able to take it a step further. Farmer’s State Bank generously offered to sponsor green fees for anyone who golfs at Wedgewood, Oakwood, Green Lea or Clark’s Grove Golf Course. Golfers may sign up at the Chamber of Commerce, The United Way of Freeborn County office or in person at golf courses. Your green fee will be waived, and you’ll be entered in to win prizes.

The proceeds are to go to participating United Ways in Minnesota and to members of Feeding America Food Banks. For Freeborn County that’s Channel One Regional Food Bank, the same partner that helped United Way of Freeborn County with the past two pop-up pantries, serving families in need with food. We’re working with them to host three additional pop-up pantries in late July, August and September.

When I learned of this opportunity, I immediately thought of my husband’s parents. United Ways work towards communities having access to education and improving economic stability. Channel One Food bank has the mission to strengthen food access and build healthy communities. Aren’t all of these things that go hand in hand? Isn’t this the perfect mission for a fundraiser? While not everyone will have the personal memories that I do with these essential services for our communities, I think everyone can agree that these are essential services. I hope you’ll join in next week for a round of golf at our beautiful golf courses, some fresh air and the added bonus of helping Minnesota Live United. I’m sure that my in-laws would approve.

Erin Haag is the executive director of the United Way of Freeborn County.