Planned for April 25, 2016, the Joe Moreno Charity Classic had been a year in the making.
Staffers and supporters of the Glenda Jean Mostyn and Joe E. Moreno Educational Foundation, including founders Steve and Amber Mostyn, and the team from presenting sponsor AT&T, had spent months planning the charity golf tournament, organizing a live and silent auction, and securing sponsorships. But in the days leading up to the event, floods devastated North and East Texas, putting to rest the best laid plans.
The Foundation had launched the Classic in 2015 to serve as a 10 year memorial for Texas Representative Joe Moreno, the foundation’s namesake, as well as to raise money to support its programming for children with special needs. After April’s floods, however, the Mostyn Moreno team knew that the 2016 event needed to do more to help community members in need.
“I’m positive that our sponsors, golfers, and volunteers shared our high awareness of the lives lost and devastation felt in Houston,” said Monte Osburn, executive director of Mostyn Moreno, following the flooding. “Therefore, we wanted this year’s Classic to be an outlet for people’s desire to provide some measure of relief for our community.
In lieu of a traditional golf tournament, this year’s attendees were not only offered the chance to volunteer to help flood victims, but were also able to golf at a driving range and participate in an auction benefiting Mostyn Moreno.
After learning of the Foundation’s new plan for the event, Steve and Amber Mostyn jumped into action, working to connect the foundation staff with other local nonprofits and with AT&T to figure out the best ways to provide relief and support for those affected by the flood.
“My wife Amber and I wanted to do everything we could,” said Steve Mostyn, founder of Houston’s Mostyn Law. “We weren’t the only ones. The entire community stepped up, which made the event even more meaningful.”
In the wake of the floods, the Foundation’s team learned that displaced families were living in crowded spaces, often with few possessions folks could salvage. For many who were forced to relocate, this made it hard to re-establish even the simplest routines, such as cooking meals. After catching wind of these experiences, the Mostyn Moreno team soon came up with an impactful way to help – providing lunch for the families.
With the support of AT&T, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, and Houston City Council Member Robert Gallegos; Mostyn Moreno was able to secure a location in North Houston to host a barbeque benefitting displaced flood victims. And on the day of the Joe Moreno Charity Classic, 40 volunteers – AT&T staff, event sponsors, and members of the nonprofit H.E.A.R.T. Program – arrived to help.
But volunteers weren’t the only people on hand to serve food. Joe Moreno’s family also arrived to pitch in and show their support, and by the end of the afternoon, the group had served close to 250 meals to needy flood victims.
“It was spectacular,” said Osburn. “One woman approached me and said, ‘I was eating noodles with my hands last night!’ A lot of these families, in addition to losing their homes, don’t have the funds to just go out to eat; they lost everything. Being able to supply them at least one decent meal was touching and gratifying.”
The Mostyn Moreno community didn’t stop at lunch. In addition to supporting flood victims, they also organized a pizza dinner for a special group of first responders who had been hard at work since the floods began: the solid waste team.
The solid waste department is tasked with removing the debris and wreckage directly after a flood – a crucial job that often gets overlooked. To show their thanks, the Mostyn Moreno community rallied once again to serve food and drinks to 110 workers. The meal was a happy one, and meant a great deal to all involved.
By the end of the Classic, volunteers and sponsors served approximately 360 meals to those impacted by the flooding, and the foundation raised $95,000, which will help support its programming for the rest of the year.
“This event took on a life of its own,” said Mostyn. “Joe Moreno was a caring and generous member of the Houston community, so seeing everyone contribute and support first responders and flood victims perfectly captured the spirit of the tournament and the foundation’s namesake.”