Annual Charity Event Guide

Written by Debbi Kiddy

Everyone knows the old saying, ‘It is better to give than receive.’ Giving is even more gratifying when you join others to provide help. Many Lake County businesses, organizations, charities, and individuals are working hard to provide ways for you to make a difference in the lives of others in the year to come with cook-offs, dances, festivals, golf tournaments, live entertainment, silent auctions, and more.

This is Healthy Living’s Annual Charity Event Calendar for 2017. It highlight events planned throughout the area. Whatever your favorite cause, you’ll find a way to help. Be sure to save your copy so you don’t miss any of the FUNdraising in 2017!

If you have questions about the mission of these worthwhile organizations, please refer to the Charity Register, which is also in this issue.


Adopt–A–Child for Christmas

An all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that provides Christmas gifts to East Lake County children in need. “Angel Trees” are placed in local post offices and businesses and decorated with angels containing a child’s name and gift wish.


Beacon College

Giving Tuesday, a national day of giving, is Dec. 6. Potential donors may stop by Beacon’s main office in downtown Leesburg to donate any amount of money, or donations can be made online at beaconcollege.edu. Beacon College is the nation’s first accredited college to offer associate’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees exclusively to students with learning disabilities and ADHD.


Camp Boggy Creek

“The Joy of Camp: A Gala Celebration With a Little Bit of Country” fundraising event is Dec. 10 at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Studios in Orlando. The event includes a live and silent auction, camper stores, and a concert by country music legend Alan Jackson. This year-round camp for children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses provides memorable, exciting, fun, and empowering experiences for campers at no charge.



Special Olympics Florida, Inc

The 23rd annual Publix Supermarkets Torch Icon Campaign. Purchase a paper torch at any Publix for $1, $3, $5, or $10 the first three weeks of January. The funds provide year-round sports training and competition for more than 23,000 children and adults with special needs.



Lazarus Free Clinic

The sixth annual “A Taste of The Villages” is Feb. 1 to raise funds to provide medical services to those in need in Lake County. Attendees sample specialty dishes from various local restaurants and enjoy live music and a live auction.


Florida Hospital Waterman Foundation

The eighth annual Celebration of Life Gala, which benefits Florida Hospital Waterman’s emergency department, is Feb. 4, at The Westin in Lake Mary. Attendees enjoy dinner, a live and silent auction, and live entertainment.


Mount Dora Center for the Arts, Inc.

The 42nd Mount Dora Arts Festival is Feb. 4-5. It attracts more than 300,000 visitors and potential buyers for the two-day, juried event, ranked in Sunshine Artist’s Top 100 Festivals. Proceeds support appreciation of art and culture through educational programs and art exhibits.


Young Performing Artists

The Soul Food Festival is Feb. 25 at Wildwood Country Resort. The event celebrates African-American culture with a fun-filled evening of live entertainment and dancing. Soul food served during the event includes barbecue, fried chicken, collard greens, conch peas, cornbread, and sweet potato bread.


Golden Triangle YMCA

The annual Youth Scholarship Campaign, scheduled for February and March, raises funds so children, families, and neighbors—people who may lack financial means to participate in YMCA activities—can benefit from the contributions.



Habitat for Humanity

Lake-Sumter FL, Inc. The second annual American Heroes Walk is March 4 at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Leesburg. Walk a lap and RoMac Lumber donates $5 toward Habitat’s newest project, Veterans Village in Umatilla.


Lake Eustis Museum of Art

The 12th annual Art-A-Fare is March 9. The event features dinner and a silent auction with art, vacation packages, and donated prizes to raise funds to support the exhibition and collection of fine art. It also aids the presentation of museum-quality art education programming to enrich culture and enhance economic development of this diverse community.


Lake Sumter Children’s Advocacy Center, Inc.

The 16th annual Bids for Kids is March 11. The event, held at Savannah Center in The Villages, is an invitation-only barbecue featuring a live and silent auction. cac4kids.org Pig on the Pond, Inc.The 18th annual Pig on the Pond Sanctioned BBQ Competition and Festival is March 10-12 and includes a barbecue competition and carnival with rides. This organization raises much-needed funds for scholarships and education in South Lake County.


Leesburg Center for the Arts

The 40th Leesburg Fine Arts Festival, which is March 11–12, brings nearly 140 artists from around the country to display their pieces in this juried show. Categories include paint, sculpture, jewelry, photography, and mixed media. The center promotes growth and vitality in the community by providing educational opportunities in the arts for all ages.


Cornerstone Hospice Foundation

The annual Evening Beneath the Stars in South Lake County in March will benefit various Hospice programs and includes a silent and live auction. The foundation provides resources to support care for terminally ill persons and families facing end-of-life issues.


FoRward Paths Foundation

A Bicycle Prom will be in March or April at the Leesburg Armory. Participants will ride bicycles on the local bike trails and enjoy a social event at the Leesburg Armory.



Amazing Race for Charity

Amazing Race for Charity is April 1 in downtown Eustis. The event leads teams of two to various businesses, schools, and churches, to compete in challenges that test their agility and problem-solving skills. Funds raised from the event are dispersed to 12 charities throughout Lake County.


American Cancer Society

Lake/Sumter Unit Relay for Life is an 18-hour fundraiser to fight cancer and create awareness of the deadly disease. Participants take turns walking around a track. The 2017 Relay for Life events are in April and May throughout various venues in Lake and Sumter counties.


Angel Flight Southeast

The Dr. Norris Pilot Awards Gala for Angel Flight Southeast is April 7-9 at Westgate River Ranch Resort. The weekend-long event includes a silent auction, pilot awards presentation, and dinner, and activities such as mini-golf, bungee jumping, archery, horseback riding, and rock climbing. Funds raised provide free air transportation for children and adults with medical or compelling humanitarian needs.


Lake-Sumter State College Foundation, Inc.

The 32nd annual Gala Auction will be April 15. This exciting event includes live and silent auctions and sit-down dinner. The foundation directly supports assisting the college in fulfilling its mission of excellence in education, service to the community, and financial assistance to qualified students.


New Vision for Independence

Dining in the Dark is April 17 at Lake Receptions in Mount Dora. The event gives guests a unique glimpse into the world of blindness as they eat dinner in complete darkness to benefit those with challenges to sight.


World Wellness Education

The Taste of Wellness is April 22 at the Wildwood Community Center. More than 50 vendors offer wellness products, healthy food, and introduction to spas.


Greater Clermont Cancer Foundation

Bras for a Cause and Boxers Too is April 22 at the Clermont Performing Arts Center. During this event, participants decorate and model whimsically themed bras and boxers, and then auction them off to support the citizens of South Lake County as they cope with the emotional and financial impacts of cancer.



The LovExtension Bowling Extravaganza is April 28 at Break Point Alley in Tavares. In addition to bowling, guests enjoy a silent auction and prize drawings. This is a nonprofit organization that provides social and well-being visits to elderly and disabled people in Lake County and The Villages.


Kaleb Kares

Enjoy a banquet April 29 at Spring Meadows Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Sanford. Attendees participate in a silent auction and have dinner, as well as attend a live musical performance by Laura Story, a contemporary Christian artist. Funds provide memory boxes for mourning parents who have lost a baby.


Leesburg Partnership

The 18th Leesburg Bikefest, set for April 28–30, is a social event for bikers and a chance for the public to see an array of custom motorcycles lining historic downtown Leesburg. The Leesburg Partnership is an association of residents, government, and business persons focused on aiding the physical, economical, and social revitalization of Leesburg.



Florida’s Hometown USA Program, Inc.

The annual Scholarship Scramble Golf Tournament is May 6 at Arlington Ridge Golf Course. This program was organized to help children and teens understand the importance of volunteering.


New Beginnings of Lake County, Inc.

The South Lake County Dragon Boat Festival is May 6 at Waterfront Park in Clermont. In addition to exciting dragon boat racing, the event features live music, a kid’s zone area, and various vendors. New Beginnings is a faith-based organization in South Lake County that helps homeless men, women, and children recover from unfortunate situations and transition back into the workforce. The race is their fundraiser.


Ruth House

A banquet that includes a silent auction and sit-down dinner is in May at Lake Receptions. The public learns what the program is about, and a graduation ceremony is held for women who complete the year long program. Ruth House is a transitional shelter for women in crisis.



Boys & Girls Club of Lake and Sumter Counties

The Black and White Ball Gala Auction is August 19, and the black-tie dinner features both silent and live auctions. This event raises funds for programs at the Boys & Girls Club.



Florida’s Hometown USA Program, Inc.

The 31st Miss Leesburg Scholarship Program will host a pageant in September for girls ages 4-19. Pageants are held all day. missleesburg.com Lake Cares Food Pantry Birdies and Burgers Golf Tournament is Sept. 9 at the Country Club of Mount Dora. Attendees enjoy golf, as well as a delicious burger lunch while supporting Lake County residents in need.


LRMC Foundation

The 20th annual Go for the Green Golf Tournament is Sept. 15 at Mission Inn Resort and Club. Business professionals and community leaders enjoy a day of networking, relaxation, and friendly competition to raise funds for the Leesburg Regional Medical Center Foundation.



Deaf Service Center of Lake County

The Fall Flower Festival in October is held at the center’s office. The event features a butterfly encounter, and local gardeners and growers donate plants for purchase. The center provides deaf, hard-of-hearing, and speech-impaired individuals with programs and services.


Haven of Lake and Sumter Counties, Inc.

The 23rd annual Domestic Violence Luncheon, planned for Fall 2017, offers a catered lunch, a guest speaker (domestic violence victim), a 50/50 drawing, and live and silent auctions to raise funds for the Leesburg Regional Medical Center.


Lake County Firefighter’s Charity

October is the time to Turn Lake County Pink. During the month-long fundraiser, a pink fire truck is displayed at various Lake County events, serving as a mobile tribute to Lake County women who have battled breast cancer. Firefighters wear pink uniform shirts, and the public can purchase those shirts to raise money for local cancer programs.


LifeStream Behavioral Center Foundation

The organization’s annual gala is in October. It is a fun-filled, themed evening with live and silent auctions. A 501(c)(3) organization, LIfeStream is committed to raising awareness and promoting the well-being of our community by seeking financial support through fundraising, gifts, service, and other voluntary activities.



The Salvation Army of Lake and Sumter Counties

The organization’s Red Kettle campaign runs from Nov. 11 through Dec. 24. Volunteers ring the bell over the familiar big, red kettle at Winn Dixie, Publix, and Wal-Mart locations throughout Lake and Sumter counties. Funds raised provide food, clothing, shelter, furniture, rental and utility assistance, transportation, activities for the elderly and emergency disaster relief.


Educational Foundation of Lake County

The Lady of the Lakes Renaissance Faire allows participants to experience musicians, knights, fire-eaters, pirates, and other medieval characters. The faire is held two weekends in November.


South Lake Hospital Foundation, Inc.

The South Lake Hospital Foundation Golf Invitational is in November. The event raises awareness and generates funds to enhance the health and wellness services for residents in south Lake County.


Life’s Choices of Lake County, Inc.

The 12th annual Banquet and Ministry Expo, set for November, allows visitors to see first-hand the services offered, hear testimonials from those who have received help from the organization, and listen to a keynote speaker. The organization offers hope, practical assistance, and the love of Jesus to those in our community facing unplanned pregnancy.


Faith Neighborhood Center

The 16th annual Faith Neighborhood Center Charity Golf Classic, planned for November, includes a putting contest and trophies for winning teams, as well as a longest-drive competition for men and women. The center serves nearly 900 families each month by providing necessities to residents of South Lake County in need.


Humane Society of Lake County

The WestMUTTster Dog Show is in November at Ferran Park in Eustis. For a reasonable fee, pet owners enter their dogs in fun-filled categories such as “Best Kisser,” “Best Tail Wagger,” and “Best Costume.” Proceeds benefit the animal shelter.



Adopt–A–Child for Christmas

An all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that provides Christmas gifts to East Lake County children in need. “Angel Trees” are placed in local post offices and businesses and are decorated with angels containing a child’s name and gift wish.


About the author

Debbi Kiddy

Debbi is a native Floridian, born and raised in south Florida. After graduating college and graduate school, earning degrees in Communication, Debbi returned to Florida to work in Central Florida in Marketing for AT&T, until retiring in 2007. Currently, Debbi is a staff writer/copy editor for Akers Media and Debbi teaches at Valencia and Columbia colleges and tutors in the Writing Center. Debbi’s hobbies include singing, hiking, biking and reading.

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