Thursday, May 6, 2021
Ana Rodriguez Soto - Florida Catholic newspaper
MIAMI BEACH | Canceled last year due to COVID-19, Cheers to Charity returned this year with a smaller crowd and more space between tables, but still managed to raise just over $145,000 for the archdiocese’s charitable projects.
Held at the world-famous Joe’s Stone Crabs on South Beach, Cheers to Charity was launched in 2012 as a fun way to raise funds for the archdiocese. Pastors could come with their parish families and parents could come with their children to enjoy a unique-to-South-Florida brunch. Normally, Cheers to Charity takes place on Sunday, but this year it was held on a weekday, April 28, 2021.
About 300 people attended, down from the 500 that usually take part. To keep everyone safe, no individual tickets were sold. Attendees had to buy tables for four ($1,500) or six ($2,250), keep their party together and adhere to CDC guidelines on mask-wearing. Higher priced sponsorships also were available.
Despite the restrictions, tickets sold out in three days, said Martha Velasquez, senior director of special events for the archdiocese’s Development Corporation — an indication of Cheers to Charity’s popularity, she added.
The funds raised at the event “have been used for a variety of things in the areas of greatest need each year,” said Katie Blanco Bourdeau, president of the archdiocesan Development Corporation.
One more event is coming up next week. On Wednesday, May 12, from 6 to 8 p.m., Archbishop Thomas Wenski will host another popular fundraiser, Havana Nights. This year, the event will take place at the American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora, 1200 Coral Way, Miami. Remaining tickets are $50 each or $500 per domino table. Capacity also is limited and CDC guidelines on mask-wearing and social distancing will be observed.
Proceeds from Havana Nights will benefit Catholic Charities’ Unaccompanied Minors Program. Fittingly, the Cuban Diaspora museum is currently hosting an exhibit on the Pedro Pan exodus, through which around 14,000 Cuban children came to the U.S. in the early 1960s. They were cared for by Miami’s Catholic Church until they could be reunited with their parents.