Gifts That Give Back

It’s that time of year already. Lights are twinkling; families are gathering, holiday tunes are on the radio. Most of us are crossing off items on our shopping lists, decorating our homes, baking holiday cookies, and planning for out of town guests. We are brightening our spirits with hot cocoa, boat parades, and tree lighting. One tree lighting ceremony that is special to us and a few of our charities is the Grand Boulevard Festival of Trees. A great way to grow awareness, twelve local charities decorated trees in Grand Boulevard with their mission in mind. Among the trees, our very own Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast, Children in Crisis, Inc., Children’s Volunteer Health Network, Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, and Horizons are all represented, as well as our tree, and ten little trees in front of it, celebrating the 10th annual Destin Charity Wine Auction this coming year. It’s great to be surrounded by so many with noble causes and to look back at the last 9 years while decorating our tree. All of the trees will be up through Christmas. 
We are reminded that everyone is not as fortunate during the holiday season. We think about the children in shelters and foster homes at Children in Crisis, the children whose families are not able to provide a holiday feast without organizations like Food For Thought. What about those who don’t have a roof over their head at all? Habitat for Humanity and Opportunity Inc. are in place to help. We think of those who are in unhealthy situations, and their holiday memories are not merry or bright, and we are thankful that places like Shelter House exist to give them a chance at a new life. We are thankful for the hard work our charities do every day, and especially during the holidays. This can be their busiest time of year. As 2014 comes to a close, we look forward to 2015 and the opportunity to raise funds for these charities. Their services are very necessary but not without a cost.  
As we get ready to ring in the New Year, we prepare for several events to raise the necessary funds for roofs over the heads of the homeless, and food for the families that are hungry, for counseling and shelters for those that are abused. You can help. A great stocking stuffer would be tickets to our Tasting of Champions Wine Walkabout & Tasting will take place on January 30th, 2015 from 6pm-8pm at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa. Tickets are $50 and are available now. All proceeds benefit our 14 charities. This event premiers the 600 wines entries for the South Walton Wine and Food Festival and all of the award winners. 
April brings the most important week of our year. The "Northwest Florida Beaches Ultimate Wine Week" is where wine, charity, and fun converge. This 4th weekend in April is our 10th Annual Destin Charity Wine Auction. This is Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation’s main event, raising the most funds for our charities. Tickets to this weekend’s festivities include 2 seats to the Patron Dinner of your choice, the reserve tasting and silent auction, the live auction, and the South Walton Beaches Wine and Food Festival. Last year on this weekend we raised over $2 million for our charities. We hope to raise the bar even higher this year. When thinking of what to wrap up with a bow this holiday season, visit our website for tickets! You will be contributing to a noble cause as well. Happy Holidays everyone, from the Staff at DCWAF!  

Food For Thought needs volunteers today to help in our Santa Rosa Beach pantry. We still have 150 Christmas bags to prepare, 700 backpacks to pack and loads of donations to organize! Volunteers of all ages welcome! Call them at 850.290.4056 or email [email protected] 
Shelter House has about 30 families to feed this Christmas. Can you help? They provide a complete holiday meal basket with a turkey or ham and everything needed to cook a festive meal. Many of our families are struggling to make it on one income with no additional assistance. They also have a virtual housewarming party for the renovation of the emergency shelter! Check it out
Opportunity Inc. has a few things going on this holiday season!

      Do some shopping at Altar'd State on Monday’s this month. On Mission Monday’s of December -10% of the proceeds go to Opportunity Inc

      Think about giving to the 90Works mission of overcoming homelessness, poverty and family violence by becoming self-sufficient. Each week we receive numerous inquiries from vulnerable families             reaching out to us for help. Like you, these families want to be employed, stably housed and able to support themselves.

      And Fill up the truck(s) for children in the area to have presents to open on Christmas morning. You can drop toys or donations off at Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House, Sleep Center (Fort Walton & Destin Locations) Or Gary Smith Honday...AND...if you bring a bike to Gary Smith Honda, they will give you $1000 off the purchase of a Honda! 
Pledge to give to Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast
Start your Monday Morning off with a Coffee from Costa Enterprises - McDonald's. While drinking your McDonald's Coffee - during our December "Coffee for a Cause," please remember, you are supporting Children in Crisis "establishing homes and providing hope" for the abused, neglected and abandoned children of our community - while keeping sibling groups together!  

Keep up the monday morning coffee tradition for the month of January. Costa Enterprises- McDonald's gives 50% of the proceeds of Monday coffee sales to Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy Center! This includes all 19 locations throughout the Florida panhandle. 

Chidren's Volunteer Health Network t's make a great Christmas gift...get yours now! Super soft ! MERRY CHRISTMAS! #cvhnkids #healthyhappykids 
CVHN t-shirts are in...kid and adult sizes available. Get yours before they are gone!
Buying a brick for Emerald Coast Autism Center’s future facility is an easy and quick way to make a huge impact! It is also a wonderful Christmas gift!  

Visit The Walton County Habitat for Humanity Restore for lots of great armoires and other great pieces in great condition! Check out their facebook for great ideas on how to repurpose furniture if your'e looking for inspiration. 
Need last minute Christmas lights hung, one of the Pathway’s for Change graduates can take care of that for you. He charges an hourly rate and will do a great job for you. Check out their facebook page for his contact info 
Help Youth Village continue to raise for their new Building! 


By: Jordan Lacesnki

Published on Thursday, December 18, 2014