Thanks to THE PLAYERS Championship and the PGA Tour, many families receiving support from the Hubbard House will have a Merry Christmas, and possibly much more.
Last Friday, staff from the Ponte Vedra-based organizations delivered dozens of gifts for the nonprofit’s Adopt-A-Family program, which helps survivors of domestic violence provide a Christmas for their family when they would otherwise not be able to. The Hubbard House, which first opened its doors in 1975, provides services to survivors of domestic abuse and their families in Duval and Baker counties. The Jacksonville-based nonprofit offers counseling, a 24-hour hotline, emergency shelter and assistance with getting out and starting over.
THE PLAYERS Championship and the PGA Tour adopted 10 families from the Hubbard House’s program, and PGA Tour golfer and Ponte Vedra resident Jim Furyk and wife Tabitha helped deliver the gifts to the organization. Those at the event also spent time listening to a domestic violence survivor named Angela who shared how Hubbard House helped her, and her family, get out of an unsafe environment.
“We didn’t know where Christmas was coming from,” Angela said of trying to provide for two grandchildren in her care after escaping a violent relationship. “I didn’t think they would have a Christmas like the one Adopt-A-Family gave them.”
THE PLAYERS Championship also surprised Hubbard House CEO Gail Patin with a $50,000 donation.
“To watch all those presents come in the door for all those families, it was absolutely wonderful, because we know these families would not have a Christmas without this generosity,” Patin said. “Then to open that $50,000 gift, which was totally unexpected, it is something that will help us to continue to do this life-saving work.”
Angela called the donation a blessing because she knows it will be used to help others.
“It touched my heart, and I know other people in my situation, maybe even worse, they’re going to get help,” she said.
Angela also said she never had the opportunity to meet anyone famous, so she was particularly excited to meet Jim and Tabitha Furyk. But the Furyks were even more affected by meeting Angela.
Tabitha noted that violence in the home is a difficult subject matter to discuss and applauded Angela for opening up about her situation.
“I’m so proud of you for escaping and for being here to be an advocate for other women,” Tabitha told Angela.
Jim Furyk said he was also grateful to the PGA Tour and THE PLAYERS Championship for allowing them to be a part of Angela’s and other survivors’ stories through the contributions made to the Hubbard House.
“I wish more folks could hear that story,” Jim Furyk said. “It makes you want to be a better person. I love it when they include us and allow us to be a part of the surprise.”
Jared Rice, executive director of THE PLAYERS Championship, said contributing to area causes is key to their organization.
“Giving back to the community is essential to our mission,” Rice said. “To be able to put on a great sporting event that showcases our region in May and because of the support of the community, we’re therefore able to contribute back to charities like this. It’s a very amazing and rewarding position to be in, and we couldn’t do it with the support of our community and volunteers.”
Patin also lauded the local community for helping Hubbard House assist so many families over the past 41 years.
“Hubbard House could not exist without the community,” she said. “Without the community, we wouldn’t be able to save lives. We wouldn’t be able to heal hearts, we wouldn’t be able to help people live violence-free lives.”
And Patin had high praise for the women and mothers like Angela who seek out organizations like Hubbard House for help.
“You will never find stronger people than survivors of domestic violence,” Patin said. “What I learned from them is that tomorrow will always come, that there is hope, and that if you just reach out for help that you can find it. I look at them and think about that amazing strength, that amazing ability to have hope in situations that sometimes are hopeless.”
The Furyks, who have been residents of Northeast Florida for 20 years, said being able to make an impact on the local community through their own charity (jimandtabithafurykfoundation.com) and being able to contribute to area organizations along with the Tour and THE PLAYERS is truly special.
“It definitely warms your heart, and we’re so proud to be a part of the PGA Tour family, especially on days like this,” Tabitha Furyk said.
For more information on the Hubbard House, go to hubbardhouse.org. For more information on THE PLAYERS Championship, visit THEPLAYERS.com.