Meals For The Elderly’s 11th annual Sporting Clay Shoot kicked off Saturday morning, with more than 200 participants, according to MFTE President and CEO Charlyn Ocker.
The non-profit organization, which is not supported by the United Way or federal dollars, hosts the event yearly as a way to raise funds to help feed more than 700 seniors in the Concho Valley.
“We have three major fundraisers a year and the clay shoot has become our highest earning event over the last couple of years,” marketing and event director at MFTE Becca Edens said.
All the money that are raised at the event will go toward the meal program and putting food in the homes of hungry seniors who have trouble preparing food for themselves.
“I think it’s important to remember that we are your community charity. We serve your Sunday school teacher, your grandmother or your grandmother’s best friend. We serve people who do not have a network or their caretakers work and can’t help them during regular hours. We are not just providing them with a meal, we also provide that network for people who need it, we check on them on a regular basis and make sure they are okay and let them know that someone cares about their well-being,” Edens said.
According to MFTE Board Member, Chase Bruton, there were over 100 people volunteering at the clay shoot Saturday, including volunteers from the army, marine, air force and MFTE staff members.
“I try to deliver meals a couple of times a month, but I also help out at our three main fundraising events, as well as our monthly meet and greets. I started as a volunteer delivering meals 10 years ago. Being a volunteer first, got me excited on continuing as a board member. If you start helping out you almost become a family member and you want to come back and see the families you served. It feels great to help, especially when you create personal relationships with the elderly,” he said.
According to Edens, Bruton has been working on the clay shoot event since the last one in 2015 as event chair. He provides leadership and gets the board to help the small staff pull of the large event. He has helped the organization make the decisions they had to, such as understanding the shooter culture, what they are looking for in auction items and what kind of guns they are interested in.
“We are very lucky to have him on our team,” she said.
“This event is just so much fun to be a part of. We have been blessed with some really good weather today. We worried a little bit about the rain but we got the rain we needed and then it cleared right up in time for the shoot,” Edens continued.
Jim and Lois Calvert have volunteered for the Meals for the Elderly since 2010, delivering food on a regular rout every Thursday and helping out other days when they are needed.
“They need help, we are both retired and need something to do when we are not on vacation, so we like to help out as much as we can,” Jim Calvert said.
“We enjoy doing it, and we love to meet new people,” he said. “The elderly who receive a meal from us are always very grateful, and they like to give us hugs.”
Every year, Chelsea Lee, her husband, dad and brother-in-law participate at the event.
“This must be our seventh year,” she said. “The annual clay shoot is a lot of fun for friends and family. We like the MFTE. We like that they help feed so many families in San Angelo. We are already planning to come back next year.”
Besides the two 100 target courses available for shooters at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m., and the chance to win a $500 cash prize or a $750 gift certificate from Field & Streams, participants and volunteers were regularly offered peanuts and drinks, as well as a breakfast, a brisket lunch, music and a live auction.
“We had so many people wanting to either volunteer or participate at the event this year, and if they are going to give us the day and come and spend money with us, then we are going to make it as fun as we possibly can for them,” Edens said.