Former NHL Player Scores Big For Community In Need

Posted by GreaterGoodness

British Columbia native Joe Sakic found his love for hockey in the Great North, but the huge player’s big heart has won over his adoptive hometown of Denver since he retired from the NHL in 2009. Sakic has raised money to feed needy families since 1997 thanks to an annual golf tournament and formal dinner that benefits Food Bank of the Rockies. Just two years after arriving in Denver, Sakic and his wife Debbie hosted the dual events that evolved into a major fundraiser for the charity.

The Fundraising Event

Sakic’s star power is only one part of the golf tournament’s appeal. Sports celebrities participate alongside the NHL Hall of Fame winner at beautiful Sanctuary Golf Course, a facility nestled among towering pine trees with the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop. Foursomes of regular golfers get to rub shoulders with fellow sports fans and sports celebrities.

The golf event normally happens on a Friday, and then the very next evening on Saturday, downtown Denver hosts the Joe & Debbie Sakic Bringing Hope to the Table Celebration. This event features a formal dinner, live entertainment, and a silent auction. All of the proceeds from the golf event and the dinner support feeding needy children in Colorado.

Sanctuary Golf Course proudly hosts the annual tournament. The exclusive golf course notes the event benefits several Food Bank of the Rockies (FBR) programs. The organization partners with several kid-centric agencies to provide after-school meals at locations such as Boys & Girls Clubs, schools, and recreation centers. In 2014, FBR served 621,000 meals in this way, which is enough to feed 567 children three meals per day for an entire year. The after-school snack program benefits kids who receive extra help so they can get a better education and stay out of trouble. The food bank gave children 237,000 after-school snacks during the 2014-2015 academic year.

Statistics

Food Bank of the Rockies notes nearly one in four Colorado children live in households where food security is a regular issue. In 2014, the FBR helped 411,000 people. Of those, 34 percent were children. When the organization takes into account other initiatives that deliver snack totes to schools, more than half of FBR’s clients are children. As many as 18 percent of Colorado’s children live in poverty, with 8 percent living in extreme poverty. More than 39 percent of children live in households that earn 200 percent above the federal poverty line or less.

Adults in Colorado also benefit from the Food Bank of the Rockies. As many as 10 percent of the charity’s clients do not have access to a refrigerator or cooking appliances. A whopping 93 percent of the agency’s needy citizens earn less than $30,000 per year. The goal of the agency is to alleviate hunger and poverty in the state.

Goals Aplenty

Hockey Reference notes Sakic scored 625 goals and 1,016 assists over 20 years in the NHL, but the children of Colorado are the recipients of his greatest assist, going back 18 years and counting. Sakic’s annual golf tournament and dinner provide approximately 1 million meals for kids throughout the state as each new school year approaches.

“The after-school snack program benefits kids who receive extra help so they can get a better education and stay out of trouble. The food bank gave children 237,000 after-school snacks during the 2014-2015 academic year.”

The 1996 and 2001 Stanley Cup champion won over the hearts of area hockey fans soon after the Colorado Avalanche (the NHL team) arrived in the Rocky Mountains. However, Sakic and his wife have championed the cause of hungry families who live in daily poverty. The Avalanche’s executive has lofty goals for his hockey team every year, but needy kids of Colorado are the true winners of Sakic’s successful career both on and off the ice.

JoeSakic2

James Teterenko via Wikimedia Commons

Sakic’s gracious way to give back to the Denver community proves paying it forward works. Hockey fans loved the center’s performance on the ice, and the hockey “great” returns the favor to his hometown by leading the way in the fight against hunger.


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