CHR Gears Up for Third Annual Mardi Gras

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Mardi Gras planning committee members (from L):  Josh Stewart (Adventures in Paradise); Kelly Collini (CHR); Christine Thing (Rosier Insurance); Kathleen Skubikowski; Sue Denham; Patti Bohm (CHR); Ann Ziehl (Island Sun); Joyce Craig (Be Well on Sanibel); Barbara Joy Cooley; Carol Reed (Center4Life); and Steve Hatfield (Island Inn).

Mardi Gras planning committee members (from L): Josh Stewart (Adventures in Paradise); Kelly Collini (CHR); Christine Thing (Rosier Insurance); Kathleen Skubikowski; Sue Denham; Patti Bohm (CHR); Ann Ziehl (Island Sun); Joyce Craig (Be Well on Sanibel); Barbara Joy Cooley; Carol Reed (Center4Life); and Steve Hatfield (Island Inn).

Baubles, bangles, and beads! A New Orleans-style buffet dinner and jazz music! Midway-type fun and games with prizes galore! A party night to remember, under the Sanibel stars on Saturday, February 7 – this is CHR’s third annual Mardi Gras. Presented by Sanibel-Captiva Community Bank, the popular fund raiser helps the island organization meet its budget while giving islanders a party like no other.

Since 1983, in partnership with the City of Sanibel, CHR (Community Housing & Resources) has provided low-cost housing for individuals and families who live and/or work on the island, plus senior citizens and the disabled.

“CHR needs the help of all of us to continue providing affordable housing for island workers,” said Melissa Rice, CHR board member/treasurer, who chaired the 2014 event. “Living in 88 CHR homes, located in 11 complexes throughout Sanibel, are the bakers, cooks, restaurant servers, bank tellers, artists, realtors, and secretaries – to name but a few – who enrich our community and provide an available work force and essential services for island businesses and residents.”

The previous two Mardi Gras parties, organizers say, were very well supported, raising essential funds for much needed maintenance, refurbishment, and repair of buildings and grounds operated by CHR. Rents are structured to be affordable based on tenants’ incomes, and rental income does not always cover the cost of keeping the properties in good order. CHR executive director Kelly Collini has said that “to balance our budget, we need to count on community support each year of approximately $100,000, so the Mardi Gras has become a vital part of our annual fund raising.”

CHR board members are approaching local businesses and individuals with a variety of opportunities to support the cause, one that impacts all who enjoy the Sanibel lifestyle. For information on becoming a sponsor, call or visit the CHR office or go to sanibelchr.org.

Meanwhile, with the help of CHR staff, an eager team of volunteers has been meeting weekly to plan the fun. New faces are on the committee, and new ideas are being introduced, including Mardi Bucks, which party goers will be able to purchase in order to play the games and be eligible for prizes.

Mark your calendars now! The event will run from 5-9 p.m. at The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club. Tickets are just $55 each (they would make great gifts), and are now available online at sanibelchr.org; in person at the CHR office, 2401 Library Way, Sanibel; and at Bailey’s General Store, SanCap Community Bank, and the Sanibel Cafe. For information call 239-472-1189.