The fight against childhood hunger just received a major boost. Southwest Florida Children’s Charities Inc. has chosen the local chapter of Blessings in a Backpack as a new beneficiary of the 2019 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest. The annual event has raised more than $25 million for children since it began in 2008.
“We’re thrilled to become a part of this cornerstone fundraising endeavor for our community,” said Cecilia St. Arnold, executive director of Blessings in a Backpack of Southwest Florida. “The need is great, and Southwest Florida Children’s Charities has stepped up to play a vital role in addressing it.”
More than 60,000 elementary school students in Lee and Collier counties receive free and reduced-price breakfasts and lunches during the week, but the federal program doesn’t cover them when school isn’t in session. Blessings in a Backpack gives nutritious, kid-friendly, easy-to-prepare meals to more than 3,000 local children on Friday afternoons so they have food for the weekend.
A portion of the money raised through the Wine & Food Fest will help Blessings in a Backpack feed more children. The event also benefits Golisano Children’s Hospital and several institutions and organizations focused on the wellbeing of children.
The theme of this year’s Wine & Food Fest is “Making Waves: Building Healthy Minds,” and the majority of funds will be directed to local children’s mental and behavioral health initiatives. Organizers will partner with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation to allocate the proceeds.
The distinguished event is one of the top-grossing wine festivals in the U.S. and is the highest earning annual fundraiser in Lee County. It features elaborate vintner dinners leading up to the Grand Tasting, which brings together gourmet foods from top local chefs and exquisite wine poured by winemakers and winery owners.
The Grand Tasting takes place on Feb. 24, 2019 at noon at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa in Bonita Springs. Tickets are available by calling 239-433-4260.
To learn about all the ways you can help feed hungry children, visit BlessingsinSWFL.org.