Mike Dent, owner of Temple's beloved Wings Pizza N Things, grew up in the foster care system.

Back then, there were no groups like Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) to speak up for kids like him and have their backs as they navigated that system and dealt with challenges no child should have to face.

Now, Mike owns one of the most successful businesses in our community, and he's using his experience, reputation, and platform to help CASA in their mission to advocate for local foster children.

Mike and his wife, Sara, recently organized a charity golf tournament and raffle to benefit CASA, and the turnout was far higher than the couple ever imagined.

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"I was hoping to have maybe a team per hole, but we wound up having to cut the teams off at 32," Mike told me when we spoke Tuesday afternoon at a check presentation ceremony. "We wound up raising over $26,000. We were hoping to just raise about $10,000!"

Mike said the experience took him back to his days as a child in the foster care system, and hopes that local foster kids will be inspired and filled with hope after seeing their community coming together to support them and let them know they are not forgotten.

"I just feel so blessed to be a part of it and to be able to give back," Mike said. "Never in my life did I think I'd be in a position to give back, so we're excited to do our second annual [tournament] coming up in the spring."

Mike and Sara presented a check for $26,550.17 to CASA President Lee Ann Deal and Executive Director Kevin Kyle at a ceremony in the Wings Pizza N Things dining room Tuesday afternoon.

The Dents and Mr. Kyle were kind enough to invite us out to celebrate the gift and enjoy some free lunch, and I recorded both the check presentation and a quick interview with Mike. You can check those out below.

Thank you so much to the Dents and CASA for having us out and for this amazing gift to the children of Central Texas. CASA volunteers serve as the eyes and ears for judges presiding over the cases of foster children, and the money raised by the tournament and raffle will go straight into funding those efforts.

It's Time to 'Stuff the Bus' for Central Texas Students

The new school year is just around the corner, and Central Texas students will face unique challenges as we put the pandemic behind us and look to the future.

One challenge no child should face is being without the essential school supplies they'll need to live up to their potential and achieve academic success.

That's where you and I come in. From July 19 to August 15, you can donate school supplies at the following locations. Donated supplies will benefit students in need in Belton ISD, Killeen ISD, and Temple ISD. (Click each district to view their 2021-2022 school supply lists.)

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Here's What's Happening at This Year's Central Texas State Fair

After taking a year off in 2020, the Central Texas State Fair returns this September with everything you love about a rip-roarin' good time at the Bell County Expo Center! Here's your guide to the great shows, music, food, and rodeo action you expect as they do it big for 2021.