Volunteers tied on their aprons and took to their feet for a special program last month for a good cause.
The 21st Annual Tips for Kids’ Sake fundraiser was a big success for Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Johns County. Local celebrity waiters earned big tips and raised over $70,000. This year’s event had a record number of participating restaurants — 26 throughout St. Johns County, prompting organizers to split the event into two nights for a South Tips and a North Tips. According to event organizers, the funds raised will help maintain and expand the program.
“Having a successful Tips like this means being able to continue the level of services we provide and reach out to more kids” says Teresa Andrews, Development Director. Organizers are thankful to the many hundreds of patrons who went out to dinner on Tips for Kids Sake night and are especially grateful to the over 150 celebrity waiters who participated this year (another record!).
“Our celebrity waiters really are who make this a success, we are so appreciative of all their hard work,” Andrews said.
It was a record night both for the BBBS event and for some of the teams participating.
This was the tenth year that members of the Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach participated in the event, this year serving at Bogey Grille. This year accounted for both the strongest participation among members of the club and the highest amount raised for BBBS by the club, totaling about $3,090. Those participating included Will Montoya, Clare Berry, Ronald “Doc” Renuart, Adam Petrus, Jack Parker and Richard Hana, with Bruce Barber and Vickie Cavey acting as greeters that night.
“Bogey Grille was packed by Rotarians, their guests and families,” said Rotary member Ken Smith.
“It’s always fun to support our club’s initiatives,” said long-time Rotary member Clare Berry. “In past years, I’ve participated as a diner, which was fun. This year, I decided to go for more of an impact on our club’s support of BBBS by hitting the floor, providing excellent service and asking for the patrons’ support of the cause. It was fun to tell the story of why we were there, and to get buy-in from the patrons.”
“For me, it was an eye opener to how much these waitresses and waiters have to do to keep their customers happy,” said club president Will Montoya.
Many who participated this year are already looking forward to the next event.
“It is a fun way to engage the community to help our young boys and girls,” said Richard Hana. “Anyone with a caring upbeat attitude will walk away feeling enthused helping such a worthy cause. I’m looking forward to next time!”
North Tips included three Ponte Vedra restaurants: Aqua Grill, Bogey Grille and Lulu’s Waterfront Grille.
BBBS is a mentoring program serving St. Johns County in the community and schools. Mentoring has been proven to be a substance abuse prevention strategy as studies show that children who are mentored are less likely to experiment with drugs or alcohol.
For more information on Big Brothers Big Sisters, call (904) 829-9986 or visit www.bbbsstjohns.org.
For a gallery of pictures from the event, visit www.pontevedrarecorder.com.