After years of not making its budget and using savings to operate, United Churches of Lycoming County decided to host a golf tournament last year to help raise funds. The event proved to be so successful that another will be held this year with an even larger goal.
Pastor R. Kenneth Weiss, event chairman, was told not to expect much from the event as so many golf tournaments are held each year. Some thought the organization only would make about $2,000.
Weiss turned to local companies, sending out sponsorship letters to those he already saw advertising.
"Why would they bother?" Weiss said. "I had no idea. United Churches needed the help. It was vital to the community. I don't know if they go to church. We touched a lot more people than any of us knew."
United Churches runs more than 850 volunteer worship services every year in various nursing and assisted living homes, as well as the local prisons. Shepherd of the Streets helps thousands with rent, prescription medications, counseling needs and more. There is a campus ministry program at the Pennsylvania College of Technology and a food pantry.
With so many ministry outreaches, Weiss said that many people had no idea the United Churches needed help until they received the letter.
"We're not very good at (public relations)," Weiss said. "We don't spend enough time telling people what we do."
Yet as someone pointed out to him, " 'You're the one they call when they need you.' "
Last year's tournament was the second largest in the county. With 27 foursomes and more than 50 sponsors, more than $8,100 was raised.
It was the first time in the more than 20 years that Weiss served on its board of directors that he could remember United Churches not having to pull from its savings.
This year, the goal is $9,000.
The event will be held Sept. 27 with a 9 a.m. shotgun start. Even with a few weeks left to go, already there are 24 hole sponsors and 24 foursomes.
All ranges of golfers are encouraged to play, from really good, to occasional players, to first timers, Weiss said.
According to Weiss, the tournament committee still is seeking:
Sponsorships at all levels
Door prizes to give each golfer, such as gift certificates or small items
Foursomes to golf, or individuals without a team, who can be assigned to another team
Gifts or donations of any size
Larger items to raffle
Promotional items with a company name or logo to give away in a free gift bag to each golfer, with 120 golfers expected
Bottles of soda or water, snack bags or any item for the beverage and snack cart.
In addition to the tournament, a community dinner will be held at Hoss's the weekend after the golf tournament.
Also, on Nov. 11, Christian comedian Ken Davis will be at Williamsport Area High School.
"It all benefits United Churches," Weiss said.