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Be the Change: A Look Back at Giving Back

The month of August was a busy one not only for real estate in the Panhandle but also for philanthropic efforts.

The agents and staff at Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty joined forces once again with Food For Thought Outreach for its annual Stock the Pantry food drive. A virtual team-based fundraiser for the first time, Food For Thought focused its efforts on raising funds, with a goal of $150,000 or the equivalent of 300,000 food items. In 2019, teams who participated in the food drive purchased or raised funds for 336,000 food items.

Food For Thought estimated that with the increased needs associated with COVID-19, it will be serving at least 3,300 students each week through its backpack program. The backpack program provides sacks of food for food-insecure children to take home on the weekend. When schools closed in March and jobs were lost due to the pandemic, Food For Thought continued providing meals for 600-plus families at five locations in Okaloosa and Walton Counties.

A virtual results party on Thursday, August 27, revealed that the non-profit more than exceeded its goal of $150,000 by raking in $204,000. Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty contributed $36,876 toward that total.

Also in August, a charity near and dear to the hearts of many at Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty, Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation, hosted the 15th annual Destin Charity Wine Auction in its own virtual format. DCWAF was pleased to raise $1.35 million for children in need in northwest Florida through this event.

The auction, originally scheduled for the last weekend in April, overcame a number of challenges during its anniversary year to include rescheduling to August before moving to a fully virtual format. The funds raised far exceeded the foundation’s fundraising goal and are trending above the national average for funds raised through virtual charity auctions.

Funds raised through the annual auction will be distributed to 16 local non-profit organizations for specific projects and programs that benefit children. Charity partners for 2020 include Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast, Children in Crisis, Children’s Volunteer Health Network, Emerald Coast Autism Center, Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, Food for Thought, Habitat for Humanity of Walton County, The Arc of the Emerald Coast, Opportunity Inc., Pathways for Change, Shelter House of Northwest Florida, AMIkids Emerald Coast, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast, Mental Health Association of Okaloosa and Walton Counties, Westonwood Ranch, and Youth Village.

As the top charity fundraising event in northwest Florida, the Destin Charity Wine Auction has been ranked among the nation’s top 10 highest-grossing charity wine auctions in the country by Wine Spectator Magazine for seven consecutive years and is currently ranked sixth. The dates for next year’s Destin Charity Wine Auction weekend are April 23 – 25, 2021.

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