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Naples Winter Wine Festival offers virtual event to benefit kids in need

Nonprofits are struggling as fewer donations come in, fundraisers are canceled and more people are in need, but the organizers of one annual Southwest Florida event have found a way.

The Naples Winter Wine Festival benefits thousands of children in need and brings in millions of dollars for the Naples Children and Education Foundation. This year, its inaugural “Purposeful Pairings” is going virtual.

“Virtual events have had kind of a trending up and down,” said Maria Jimenez-Lara with the foundation.

Fundraising is proving challenging for all nonprofits right now, but in hopes to pour in some support, wine festival organizers cooked up a new idea: a virtual wine pairing and fine dining fundraiser. You’ll cook virtually along top local chefs, like Jason Goddard.

“Trying to create events, nightlife, social interaction and have fun, this is one of those ways that we can do that with people that aren’t quite ready to come back out to the restaurants,” Goddard said.

Restaurants get a boost, too, by providing ingredients. Every meal kit will also come with an appetizer and dessert, and three wines are offered as pairings.

Bruce Nichols with The Wine Store said it’s “the only option to bring people together, and show that the wine festival is not abandoning or giving up on the support that we bring to those kids.”

“The children of our community are largely depending on events like this one,” Jimenez-Lara said.

The inaugural virtual dinner and wine tasting are scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 25 at 4 p.m. It costs $350 per couple. For more information or to make reservations, e-mail Lisa Juliano at [email protected] or call (239) 514-2239 by Monday, Oct. 19.

WINK News is a proud sponsor of the event.

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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