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Annual charity bridge tournament taking registrations

By Staff | Feb 11, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED The winners of last year's Annual Justine Smith Charity Bridge Tournament.

Spaces are running out for an annual tourney to benefit a pet adoption group on the islands.

The 10th Annual Justine Smith Charity Bridge Tournament will take place on Feb. 14 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Center 4 Life on Sanibel. Proceeds from the event will benefit the non-profit organization P.A.W.S., or Protection of Animal Welfare Society. Open to the public, up to 40 players can participate.

“We currently have 25 signed up,” Seniors Program Manager Amy Esposito-Brown said on Jan. 6.

The fundraiser was founded in the memory of Smith, a long-time member of the center and devoted bridge director and teacher. P.A.W.S. receives the proceeds because it was one of her favorite charities.

“She had a thing for P.A.W.S.,” Esposito-Brown said. “She really liked supporting them.”

PHOTO PROVIDED Heads or Tails was one side-game played during the 2019 event.

She noted that Gail Leach and Tommy Williams coordinate and run the tournament each year.

The entry fee is $25 per person, which includes lunch and dessert at 12:30 p.m.

“A cake is donated by Jerry’s Foods,” Esposito-Brown said.

Cash prizes are awarded to the first, second and third place winners.

“They do other things in between,” she said. “They have various games that they plan.”

In addition, the winners’ names are placed on a plaque on display at the center.

“So they also get like bragging rights, too,” Esposito-Brown said.

Pamela Sullivan is the president of P.A.W.S.

“P.A.W.S. has been the fortunate recipient of the proceeds from the Annual Justine Smith Memorial Bridge Tournament for many years,” she said. “Justine was a lover of cats, and this yearly donation has helped dozens of cats and kittens over this period of time.”

Sullivan noted that P.A.W.S. operates solely on donations from the community.

“P.A.W.S. is a non-profit and receives no financial support from the city of Sanibel or any other entity,” she said. “Lee County Domestic Animal Services does not provide services for domestic animals on Sanibel.”

Sullivan thanked the center for hosting the charity event every year.

“We are so appreciative of these funds raised in memory of Justine,” she added.

The public is encouraged to sign up.

“Come out and play for fun with your friends,” Esposito-Brown said. “It’s a really good event, it’s a great cause and it’s a fun afternoon.”

For more information or to register, call 239-472-5743 or stop by the center.

Cash and check will only be accepted when registering.

If space is available, sign-ups will be accepted the day of the tourney.

The Center 4 Life is at 2401 Library Way, Sanibel.