Ray Weast felt compelled to do more than reopen the doors to his golf equipment business after the initial coronavirus pandemic shutdown passed.
He wanted to lift the spirits of those struggling to lift themselves.
Quincy's golf community helped him do so in a major way.
Thursday morning, the owner of R&R Golf presented the Horizons Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry with a check for $1,890, the end result of Weast's "Helping Quincy Roll On" promotion from which $1 from every dozen golf balls purchased went to a local charity.
"I thought it was very important when the pandemic started for us to support local businesses and then for the local businesses to support the community," Weast said. "I felt people like myself could help the community in a time of need and what better way to do it than to give to a charity that helps the people of this community."
Weast's 60-day promotion began May 1 as Illinois transitioned into businesses partially reopening and stirred interest far and wide.
Mizuno and Srixon, two golf manufacturing companies, partnered with Weast and pledged $1 for every dozen of their golf balls sold. Weast also received orders from friends and golfers no longer living in Quincy who wanted to take part in the fundraising efforts.
"They were calling up and saying, ‘Send me three dozen because I believe in what you're doing,'" Weast said. "It was incredible. They knew what the cause was for. They wanted to support this community."
All told, Weast sold 872 dozen golf balls, including 602 dozen made by Mizuno and Srixon. He also received nearly $500 in donations.
"I was overwhelmed," Weast said. "My hope was to raise $1,000, and had we done that I would have been tickled pink. What we raised was way more than we ever thought. It's overwhelming."
The money is going to have a massive impact.
Sarah Stephens, executive director of Horizons, said the organization appreciates cash donations as well as food and others items because it allows them to ensure the maintenance of their facility as well as purchase food for the families in need.
"We have opportunities to make the money go farther because we have access to things at a better price," Stephens said. "Money like that helps us keep food on the shelves, the lights on and the doors open."
When the pandemic hit, they were legitimate concerns that wouldn't happen.
"When this happened in March, we seriously wondered if we were going to be able to keep our doors open," Stephens said. "We had to cancel our biggest fundraiser of the year. There was so much uncertainty and unknown, but we've been incredibly blessed with how our community has come along side of us."
The community has done more than that. It aced the goal of helping out.
"It's great to have such forward-thinking people in this community," Stephens said. "We're fortunate to be able to partner with so many amazing people."
Those people aren't done giving back either. Weast wants to make the charitable effort an annual event in order to show continued support for a community that has supported him and many others.
"To see the smiles on their faces when we presented them the money, that brought a smile to my face because I know it's going for a good cause," Weast said. "That needs to continue."