BBQ & BASH raises more than $10,000 to feed SW Florida children!

The Chamber of Southwest Florida's Leadership Lee County Class of 2012, a program of The Chamber of Southwest Florida, raised more than $10,000 at its Big BBQ & Bash event, held January 24 at Harley-Davidson of Fort Myers. The money raised is to be distributed equally to three charities that feed hungry children in Southwest Florida: African Caribbean American Center (AFCAAM), Blessings in a Backpack, Lee County, and the Harry Chapin Food Bank. Each organization received $3,359.74 to help feed children in Southwest Florida.

Each year, the graduating class of Leadership Lee County chooses a non-profit organization to provide help or support in some way. Previous classes have held fundraisers, built a Habitat for Humanity home, and erected a playground. "We wanted to hold an event that reflected the fun time we had during our Leadership Lee classes, so we decided to host a party and came up with the barbecue theme," says Miriam Pereira, the event committee chairperson and development director for Harry Chapin Food Bank. "It was a pleasure to put together an event that everyone enjoyed that also supported three worthy causes."

Big BBQ & Bash featured live musical entertainment by Lee County Electric Cooperative's Killa-Watts, mouthwatering food from Deep Down South BBQ, raffle drawings, a performance by the Lee County Sheriff's Office drill team, and other fun activities.

The event netted $10,134 for the three selected charities.

"I am incredibly proud of this Leadership class," says Dave Miller, executive director of the Chamber of Southwest Florida. "They pulled together a fun event that was very well attended, and they raised a lot of money for three good causes. It is a point of pride among Leadership Lee alumni to be considered 'the best leadership class ever.' The success of this event puts this class in the running for this recognition."

Lee County Electric Cooperative was the presenting sponsor. Other supports included Alico Inc., Durand & Gallentine Investment Management Group, TriCircle Pavers, U.S. Sugar, Banks Engineering and Conestoga-Rovers & Associates.

The Chamber of Southwest Florida's Leadership Lee is an intensive 14-week program. Through bi-weekly outings to the community's unique facilities and assets, participants get an in-depth perspective on the area's economy, history, transportation infrastructure, education system, growth management needs, healthcare system, societal challenges, law enforcement, agriculture, local government, media, and more. Each year, class alumni host a fundraiser event for the community following the completion of the program.



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