SANIBEL, Florida — January 12, 2015 — It takes a village to put on a special event, and the third annual Mardi Gras, the principal fund raiser for Community Housing & Resources (CHR), is no exception. Set for Saturday, February 7th at The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club on Sanibel and presented by the Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, successful execution will require many helping hands, both during the planning stages and on the day itself.
One special group is stepping forward: CHR residents themselves. Since 1983, in partnership with the City of Sanibel, CHR has provided affordable housing for individuals and families who live and/or work on the island, plus senior citizens and the disabled. CHR residents are teachers, retail salespeople, restaurant employees, bank tellers, artists, technicians, and office workers. They enrich the island community and provide an available work force and essential services for island businesses and all who live here.
Now, CHR residents are showing their appreciation by giving back. Some help in the planning stages; others have volunteered for the day itself, to help with set-up and clean-up, greeting guests, organizing auctions, and more. CHR director of marketing Dan Whicker commented, “It’s so great to have the willing support of our residents. In fact, it’s hard to imagine pulling this off without them.”
One such volunteer is Janice Reguero, a familiar face at the checkout counter in Bailey’s General Store, and she will reportedly be joined by other employees of Bailey’s. Always ready with a smile and a cheery comment, Reguero is among dozens of island workers who call Sanibel home, thanks to CHR. “When I started work at Bailey’s about four years ago, I was living off island and commuting,” she said. “I thought about applying for a CHR unit, but I was needed at home to help care for my mom.” Reguero eventually did complete an application and in March 2012 she moved into a quiet one-bedroom on Wooster Lane. “I have everything I need, and no traffic woes,” she said. “I can ride my bike. I joined the Rec Center. I love living on Sanibel. I could even walk to work!” Happily single, she is active in the Sanibel Community Church.
CHR executive director Kelly Collini said that funds raised through the Mardi Gras event and other outreach strategies are essential for CHR to balance its budget. “We rely on community support to keep our rents affordable and ensure reserves for maintenance, painting, repair, and upkeep such as appliances,” she said. “Residents of CHR homes provide diversity; they volunteer for island organizations; send their children to The Sanibel School; join island churches; and are an essential part of the fabric of community life.”
The 2015 Mardi Gras will be a fun night out and your chance to support your friends and neighbors in CHR! Tickets at just $55 each, tax-deductible per IRS regulations, and available through the CHR web site at SanibelCHR.org. You can also purchase tickets in person at the CHR office (2401 Library Way, Sanibel) and at Bailey’s General Store, The Sanibel Café, and Sanibel Captiva Community Bank. For event information, check the website or call 239-472-1189.