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Helping Hands for the Holidays fundraiser set for Monday

By Staff | Nov 20, 2015

An annual holiday celebration next week will help raise funds for a handful of local charities.

The 17th annual Helping Hands for the Holidays will take place on Monday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Team Aubuchon main office. Hosted by the Aubuchon Team of Companies, the event will feature a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, holiday performances by youth, a visit from Santa Claus and more.

“They’ve always believed in the philosophy of giving back to the community,” Diane VanArsdale, marketing director for the Aubuchon Team of Companies, said about the company’s owners.

The proceeds will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida, the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Florida and the Lee Building Industry Association’s Builders Care

“And it’s kind of a fun evening to kick Christmas off,” she said.

Last year, an estimated 300 to 400 people attended.

“We raised $30,000, so each organization got $10,000,” VanArsdale said.

The event is free and open to the public.

A donation table will be set up.

“It’s just like this enchanting type of evening – it’s like an old-fashioned Christmas,” she said.

“It gets you in the Christmas spirit,” VanArsdale added.

The tree to be lit is approximately 16 feet tall.

“It’s a huge, Rockefeller-style Christmas tree,” she said.

Entertainment will be provided by the Heights Elementary School choir, as well as others.

“They will sing as a group and do some solos,” VanArsdale said.

When Santa arrives, children can crawl up in his lap and share their Christmas wish list with him. Families are encouraged to bring along a camera so they can capture the holiday memories.

More than a dozen local businesses are helping out with the event. Bubba’s Roadhouse & Saloon will grill up close to 100 pounds of chicken, and the Lighthouse Restaurant will serve up tons of pasta.

Rumrunners and Ceno Grille are also lending a hand.

“All the food is donated,” she said.

Beer, wine and soft drinks will also be available.

“It’s all complimentary,” VanArsdale said.

The desserts will be made by the Team Aubuchon staff.

Arthur Printing provided the marketing materials for the event free-of-charge.

For more information, contact (239) 542-1075 or visit: www.teamaubuchon.com.

Those unable to attend but who would like to donate can do so online.

The Team Aubuchon main office is at 4707 S.E. Ninth Place.