While it is said that there are no friends at an auction due to bidding wars, many friends that combine forces make a difference when a worthy benefit is involved in such an event.
That was the case at the "Spirit of the Holidays" Dinner Auction at South Beach Grille on Dec. 3, when roughly 120 community members collectively raised more than $13,000 through auctions, raffles, donations and meal proceeds for more than 100 needy children this holiday season.
"All the money we are raising tonight is going right back to the kids," said Spirit of the Holidays committee co-chairperson Shannon Smith, granddaughter of Roxie Smith. "
Spirit of the Holidays committee co-chairperson Shannon Smith shows a lottery ticket wreath as Auctioneer Mike Joyce of Gulfcoast Coin & Jewelery Brokers looks for bidders at South Beach Grille. The live auction alone raised nearly $9,000.
Spirit of the Holidays features many nonprofit events that raise funds to purchase gifts, toys, clothing and Christmas dinner (provided by Lani Kai Beach Resort) for the many families in need in the Beach area. Last month, The Beach Pub contributed a "mountain" of toys (including 6 bicycles) and a check for $3,737 from its successful 13th annual Toys for Christmas Drive and 12th annual Patrick Stott Memorial Toy Run.
Spirit of the Holidays is the charitable arm of the Greater Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce Foundation and organized by a partnership with members of that group as well as the Beach Chamber, the Fort Myers Beach Fire District Local 1826 and Beach Elementary School.
At the dinner auction, many local businesses contributed resort stay, gift certificates, artwork, bicycles, jewelry, baseball tickets/autograph baseballs, theater tickets, lottery ticket packages, a wagon of booze and other goods for more than 30 items in both a silent auction and a live auction. Auctioneer Mike Joyce of Gulfcoast Coin & Jewelery Brokers announced the highest priced auction item was a dinner for 4 to 6 people prepared and served by skillful chefs of the Fort Myers Beach Fire District. This crowd-pleaser went for $675 and a second one was then auctioned for the same price for $1,350 in fundraising.
The community businesses that free-heartedly donated auction items to be used for both a silent auction and a live auction or sponsored other ways include: AFA Station, Alpha Networks, Amy Jane Mellott, Apple Store, Beach Pierside Grill, Beach Seafood, Beds for Kids, Best of Everything, Best Western Plus Beach Resort, Better Bug Man, Big Arts Theater, Bonita Bills, Broadway Palm, Caribbean Pearl, Century 21 TriPower, Charley's Boathouse Grill, Cheddar's, Chuck Bodenhafer, Costco, Debonair Concierge Travel Services, Denny's, Discovery Bay, Dry Zone Inc., Edison Ford Winter Estates, Eryka Aptaker, The Fish House, Florida Everblades, Fort Myers Beach Fire Department, Francesco's, Fresh Catch Bistro, Getaway Marina, Gini Smith, Greater Fort Myers Beach Chamber, Gulfcoast Coin & Jewelery Brokers, Gulfshore Grill, Gullwing Beach Resort, Hammerhead Beach Gym, Hampton Inn & Suites, Hot Heads, Jo List, Key West Express, Beach Kiwanis, KMGems, Lani Kai, Lee County Sports Arena, Massey & Reiley Accounting, Matanzas Inn, McDonald's, Naples Zoo, One Flight Up Salon, Outer Island Mortgage, Oyster Bay Park, Outrigger Beach Resort, Paradise Parasail, Perkin's Restaurant, Pieces of Eight Pirate Cruise, Pink Shell Beach Resort, Pointe Estero, Print Shop, ProFiles, Progress & Pride, Fort Myers Fitness, Red Coconut RV Park, Rib City, Royal Scoop, Sandpiper Gulf Resort, Sanibel Harbour Resort, Santini Florist, Seminole Gulf Railway, Semmer Electric, Shannon Smith, Shipwreck, Silver Sands, South Beach Grille, SOB, Subway, Sun Harvest Citrus, Sun Splash, Town of Fort Myers Beach, Wyndham Garden Fort Myers Beach, Yucatan, Mid Island Water Sports and Adventure Water Sports.
In all, $8,125 was raised in the live auction alone with another $775 brought in by straight donations of $100, $50 and $25 pledges. The auction paddles were created by Beach Elementary students.
The spirit of giving extended throughout the night with people giving gifts back (children's bike, Schwinn bicycle and the winning portion of a 50/50 raffle) for the children. South Beach Grill also generously contributed $15 from each $30 dinner ticket cost back to Spirit of the Holidays
Donations were also collected to sponsor the children for a Christmas Eve cruise on the Privateer Lynx.
The partnership of "Spirit of the Holidays" is "dedicated to insuring every child living in our area has a meaningful Christmas." Once the collection is complete, the gifts will be distributed (see below) in time for the holidays.
Spirit of the Holidays continues with pancake breakfast
Next up on the holiday fundraising tour is the annual Spirit of the Holidays Pancake Breakfast at Red Coconut RV Resort next Saturday, Dec. 14. From 7:30 to 10:30 a.m., everyone is encouraged to bring their appetites as the Beach fire fighters will be flipping pancakes and cooking sausages. Beach Kiwanis K-Kids will help seat you and serve you coffee or juice as well as your breakfast.
Two days later, come and volunteer to wrap gifts and have a bite to eat with the firefighters at Red Coconut RV Resort. For those who love to be creative this holiday, your help is needed on Dec. 16, at 4 p.m. to help wrap! Beach fire fighters will cook a quick meal for all the volunteers.
The next day after that (Dec. 17), Santa and his Elves -including the Fort Myers Beach Firemen and officers from the Lee County Sheriff's West District- will begin loading the sleigh (aka the fire truck) at the Fort Myers Beach Fire Department Station 31 by Donora Street before boarding it for the evening and delivering gifts from the south end of Fort Myers Beach to Pine Ridge Road. Ride along with Santa and his elves for this truly magical night. The children will beam as Santa and his elves deliver their gifts to each child's home.
For more information call The Red Coconut RV Park at 463-7200.