By Jill Fox
Twenty-eight of South Florida’s best restaurants are preparing to take part in the third annual “We are Stoneman Douglas Food & Wine Event”.
On Sunday, March 15, at 4 p.m., local chefs will be on hand-preparing culinary appetizers galore complimenting wines poured from Jackson Family Wine’s portfolio of wineries.
It’s all to benefit Parkland Cares, whose mission is to provide immediate and long-term funding and awareness for mental health counseling for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting survivors, their families, and the community-at-large.
“We thought it was a great partnership, and with all of the work they’re doing in the community, we wanted to partner with them again,” said Debi Weisman, who co-chairs the event with George Temel.
She said Temel had previous experience with food and wine festivals, and the event evolved organically through a discussion between the two, and Stacey Udine, director of Parkland Cares.
The evening, filled with entertainment, has raised over $250,000 each year.
Organizations throughout the tri-county area have donated many silent auction items from vacations to theme park tickets, sporting events, concerts, and summer camps.
Performances include the Marjory Stoneman Douglas String Quartet and the South Broward High School Drama Club. Also, Andre Rush, chef at the White House during four administrations, will create an ice sculpture.
New this year, the We are Stoneman Douglas Food & Wine Event has expanded to three days, beginning with a sold-out Winemaker Dinner at Woodfield Country Club on Friday, March 13, where Executive Chef Bart Messing will prepare an eclectic dinner pairing wines from the Jackson Family’s La Crema Portfolio.
Then on Saturday, March 14, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., a free workshop at the Parkland Library will feature “Life is Good” playmakers, who spread the power of optimism to those who need it most. The organization works with those impacted by trauma and tragedy to show the importance of cultivating connected, loving, trusted relationships, and prioritizing self-care.
Finally, the weekend will conclude with the grand food and wine festival on Sunday, March 15, at the Parkland Golf & Country Club. Tickets are still available for $150.
Weisman said, “I’m just a community member who felt compelled to do something when the tragedy happened, and now it has become way bigger than we could have ever imagined.”
- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked in public relations and television for over 20 years. Fox lives in Parkland with her husband and their two children.
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