Young Golfer Receives Prestigious Award for His Talent and Philanthropic Spirit

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Aug. 8, 2017)  Twelve-year-old Rafe Cochran, of Palm Beach, Fla., has been awarded the 2017 Peggy Kirk Bell Award at the U.S. Kids Golf tournament in Pinehurst, N.C., for using his golfing talents to help the poor through Food For The Poor.

The World Championship at Pinehurst is the pinnacle event for more than 1,500 young golfers, ages 5 -12, representing more than 50 countries. The event began on Wednesday, Aug. 2, and ended Saturday, Aug. 5, with the presentation of the prestigious award to the Palm Beach Day Academy seventh-grader.

"The Peggy Kirk Bell Award is the best award I've ever won and I am so happy," said Rafe. I won this award for helping people, not for what I did on the golf course or because of competition. That's a really great feeling."

Click for Rafe's speech.

Since 2007, the Peggy Kirk Bell Award has been presented to one young U.S. Kids golfer who has demonstrated outstanding philanthropy and inspiration through his or hers efforts on and off the golf course. Ms. Bell lived in Pinehurst, where she passed away last November. Born in Findlay, Ohio, in 1921, she started playing golf at age 17 and is considered to be one of the founders of women's golf in America. In 2002, she became the first woman inducted into the World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame.

Rafe fell in love with golfing at the age of 6, and later joined U.S. Kids Golf, where he finished among the top competitors in his age group for the last six years.

At age 9, he became one of Food For The Poor's youngest donors when he gave a donation to the charity to build two homes for families in Ganthier, Haiti. He achieved that goal by having his generous supporters pledge $100 for pars, $200 for birdies and $250 for eagles during one of his tournaments. When he was 10, he presented another check to the charity to benefit a family in Thomazeau, Haiti. At age 11, he established the Rafe Cochran Golf Classic, now in its second year.

Rafe's benefit golf tournaments have built an additional six homes in Haiti, and most recently a school in Jamaica through Food For The Poor.

"We congratulate Rafe for being the recipient for this year's Peggy Kirk Bell Award. Rafe is an extremely talented young golfer who has a very compassionate heart for the poor," said Robin Mahfood, President/CEO of Food For The Poor. "It's truly amazing to see the tremendous impact he's making in the lives of so many people at such a young age. On behalf of the families in Haiti and the schoolchildren in Jamaica, we say thank you."

Rafe and his parents, Jay and Diahann, visited Chester Primary and Infant School with Food For The Poor in St. Ann, Jamaica, in March. The school needed repairs and was severely overcrowded because the 3-to 5- year-old students were sharing the school with elementary and middle school students. After meeting with teachers and some of the students, the Cochran family decided that proceeds from the Second Annual Rafe Cochran Golf Classic in April will be used to build a separate school building for the younger children.

"Jay and I are both so very proud of Rafe, especially of his efforts and his commitments with Food For The Poor," Diahann said. "We want to encourage that passion he has for helping others."

The Cochran family will return to Jamaica on Aug. 30 to help with the finishing touches and to attend the inauguration ceremony of the new Chester Primary and Infant School on Sept. 1.

"I am very excited to be returning to Jamaica," Rafe said. "I am ready to help, not only with money, but I want to physically help with the building of the school, which will last for many years to come."

To support Rafe's future projects with Food For The Poor, checks payable to Food For The Poor can be mailed to 6401 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek, Fla. 33073. Please include reference number "SC# 124449" to ensure your donation is correctly routed.

Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. Over the last 10 years, fundraising and other administrative costs averaged less than 5 percent of our expenses; more than 95 percent of all donations went directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit

Wanda Wright

Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6079