Fundraiser to feature wild game prepared by hunters
By Jessica Tuggle
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- Quail and venison and gator, oh my!
One of the newest fundraising traditions of the Vero Beach Oceanside Rotary Club is to host a wild game feast and once again this hotly anticipated event will benefit community individuals with special needs.
SunUp ARC, a nonprofit agency serving the needs of the developmentally and intellectually disabled, just celebrated one year since two like-minded nonprofits merged together to create the organization.
This will be the second year Oceanside Rotary has partnered with SunUp ARC for the exciting fundraiser, said Elaine Jones, event coordinator.
The event is scheduled for April 27 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will include loads of food for everyone to try, an auction, games and musical entertainment, she said.
The feast will take place at Big Racks Processing, 7065 21st St. Southwest, Vero Beach. Tickets to the event are $30 in advance or $40 at the door. Children 12 and younger are free.
Participants will get to try many kinds of wild game, including gator, quail, pheasant and venison, as well as frog legs, fish and barbeque pork, Ms. Jones said.
"We have the finest hunter-chefs and they love to cook their own food," she said.
The rotary club will also be bringing side dishes to round out the meal and there will be an oyster and clam bar.
Beverages will include beer, soda, teas and water.
Cornhole games and bullwhip-cracking competitions are certain to be the popular forms of entertainment, along with local musical guests, Old Barber Bridge, Ms. Jones said.
The auction will include donated items from local and national companies, including Bass Pro Shops and the Wild Turkey Federation.
SunUp ARC clients will also be participating in the fundraiser, possibly helping out with the entertainment, said Chuck Bradley, executive director.
"This past year has been a busy one in the life of the nonprofit," he said. "In addition to merging two organizations into one, the clientele has continued to grow and SunUp ARC now serves 180 clients, an increase of nearly 30 percent."
In 2012, SunUp ARC formed an advocacy committee to bring awareness to the community about the needs of people with disabilities. This past March, thanks to the donations of members of the community, the committee was able to take their message to Tallahassee during Disabilities Awareness Day.
While in Tallahassee, Patricia Moody, Scott Connelly, Michelle Penly and Natalie Urquhart spoke to legislators, asking them to remove the "r-word" in legislation referencing people with disabilities.
"House Bill 1119 and its companion bill Senate Bill 142, are currently in the committee stages and would remove the term "mental retardation" and replace it with "intellectual disabilities" in all legislative language documents and state statutes," Mr. Bradley said.
The four SunUp advocacy committee members were able to share with legislators how the "r-word" makes them feel, how degrading it is and how it destroys self-esteem, he said.
"The whole trip was funded by an outpouring of community support. We really thank everyone," Mr. Bradley said.
The bills have not yet come to the floors of either the state House or Senate.
For more information about the wild game feast, call Ms. Jones at (772) 299-1383. For more information about SunUp ARC, visit www.sunuparc.org.