Over 100 people attended a fundraising dinner at Cafe Panuzzo on June 7,2017 in support of Foster Friends of Oviedo, an all volunteer social Facebook group dedicated to providing community parenting and support for local foster group homes across Central Florida. The dinner and raffle, which was organized by Oviedo local residents, raised more than $2000 through raffle tickets and a generous 20% of revenue donation from Cafe Panuzzo.
The group started under the wings of iPrevail as a program to "adopt" foster homes in the community. In the past 5 months since it's inception, there have been 800 active members with the goal of providing community parenting and normalcy to the group by delivering meals, celebrating birthdays, or welcoming foster teens with a soft blanket and some new clothes. The money raised from this event will be used for fun summer activities for 30 foster teens from five group homes from Oviedo, Union Park, Winter Garden, Palm Bay, and Cocoa.
"The kids we help have their lives torn apart for many reasons including addiciton in their families, or tragic events. I came to know about the home in my own neighborhood as I was experiencing my own challenges in my family but I can't drive by without doing anything to help.", shares Wednesday Hugus, creator of the Foster Friends Group and Foster Assistance Director for iPrevail International Foundation. "I never imagined the kind of response and involvement we got from the local community and the hearts of people to provide that much needed connection for the kids"
Local favorite restaurant Cafe Panuzzo says that this is the most successful fundraising event they've ever had. "Thank you so much for allowing us to host the fundraiser! We were blown away by the turn out. It's the most successful fundraiser we have ever hosted and we host about 3 a year. Not only were the overall sales for that night boosted, but the Foster Friends group helped us gain new customers and they were definitely sure to spread the love on Facebook. Thank you so much!", says Kalina Delgado, owner and manager of Cafe Panuzzo. Asked how she came to learn of the group and why she decided to help, Kalina says, "After being introduced to the Foster Friends of Oviedo Facebook page by a lovely supporter and regular customer of ours, we've been amazed by how incredible the iPrevail team is and how the community is so willing to help these kids! Just being a part of the Facebook group, you can see all of the amazing things they are doing! Providing meals, organizing fun paintball outings, adding clothes and accessories to the Foster Closet, etc...the list goes on and on. It's also completely run by volunteers! The time and energy put into running this group is enough to be a full-time job and they do it simply because they care so much about these kids."
"I am so grateful that this amazing group has allowed me to organize a raffle, with lots of help, of course! It is so rewarding to know we are helping out local foster kids and I can't thank all the amazing people I've met through Foster friends of Oviedo for all the help. It was such a great experience for our whole family to be able to help in this way.", shares Tina Chatterton, a volunteer for the group and owner of local business Corey's Detailing, who also sponsored the raffle. "What is amazing is that we reach out to local businesses and we don't get the corporate sponsorship process response, but we have real individuals wanting to step up and help. Most of these business owners are the volunteers themselves! Because of this we were able to get raffle prizes worth almost 2k in one week! We seriously want to thank all these amazing businesses who made this possible."
The Town House Restaurant - 2 $15 gift cards Wellness Worth It - 1 hour massage $75 value Corey's Detailing (Corey and Tina Chatterton) - exterior detail with glass coating up to $160 value Scott McDonald Painting - paint one room (up to 14x14) Emma Reichert Realty -Oviedo Welcome Pack Orlando Bee Removal Expert - 10 jars of honey (multiple winners) BGE Grooming - mini grooming $55 value My House Fitness - T $100 Gift card with shaker cup, cozie and water bottle Kraig Pavlonnis with the Oviedo All-Stars 14u team - Oviedo Babe Ruth discount card $25 value Yes You Canvas - gift card for 2 adults $74.90 value Origami Owl - Origami Owl Locket Kim Rolnick Pavlonnis - bottle of wine Macaroni Grill (Oviedo) - wine basket $90 value Marty's Auto Works - oil change As The Tail Wags - grooming $55 value That Organized Life by Melissa Westerby - 2 hours of organizing $80 value Cherry Mountain Crafters by Beth Syme, foster volunteer from NC - hand carved bowl $250 value Cheryl Minardi with New York Life - $25 Target gift card Bonnie Copper - flower pot with succulents $30 value
*Emma Reichart Realty also donated LOVE Oviedo Stickers sold for $5 , and 100% of Profits will be donated to foster groups as well.
**Cafe Panuzzo is located at 1003 Lockwood Blvd, Oviedo, FL 32765
ABOUT THE GROUP HOMES
iPrevail and the Foster Friends of Oviedo work with the 5 Group Homes under Friends of Children and Families, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to provide a safe and burturing environment for at-risk children and their families.