Just in time for the charitable needs associated with the holiday season, the Fifth Annual St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival wrapped up another series of donations this week to three local charities - Catholic Charities, K-9s United and Fresh Starts. This year, the festival donated a combined $75,000. Since its inception, the festival has donated more than $325,000 to local charities.
“Hurricane Matthew put pressure on everyone in our area, especially those most in need. It is an honor to provide financial support to organizations that do so much to help others,” said Festival President Charlie Seraphin.
The St. Augustine regional office of Catholic Charities serves area seniors, children, mothers and fathers, who struggle on a daily basis to meet basic needs, offering emergency assistance with rent, utilities and food.
K-9s United raises funds for area K-9 units. Many times, law enforcement budgets are unable to meet all of the needs of a K-9 unit. K-9s United purchases equipment to bridge the gap.
Fresh Starts is a four-week program coordinated by First Coast Technical College that provides residents of the St. Francis House with relevant training and certifications that make them immediately employable in the foodservice industry.
“The St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival is a blessing to our community,” said Mary Kelley Kryzwick, director of the Catholic Charities St. Augustine regional office. “Catholic Charities has been a beneficiary of the festival for the past three years, and festival proceeds have allowed us to expand and grow our organization’s programs that serve the community. Board members and volunteers put tremendous effort into the festival, and we are so thankful to be a part of these historic and cultural events.”
The St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival, held annually in September and sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank, drew people from around the region and around the world.
“Each year the festival attracts new interest from people who understand the critical role St. Augustine played in the colonization of the New World,” said Seraphin. “Each year they travel from Europe, South America and throughout the United States to join with local residents to celebrate our common heritage."
The 2017 festival is scheduled for Sept. 8-10.