South American flavor sizzles at Hibiscus’ ‘Fiesta’ event

Diane McGinn, Gail Pruss and Nancy Cutshall. PHOTO BY STEPHANIE LABAFF

Guests at the Wine & Dine, Let’s Fiesta fundraiser at the Grand Harbor Club experienced the thrill of travel minus the jetlag as they ate their way through South America, all while supporting the Hibiscus Children’s Center and its Vero Beach-based Hibiscus Children’s Village.

Passports gave travelers access to food stations featuring cuisine from Chile, Argentina, Peru, Brazil and Mexico, each paired with a selection of wines to complement the festive fare.

The progressive dinner included vegetable and meat soup, flame-grilled skirt steak, fish and shrimp ceviche, fish stew, and a dessert table laden with flan, plantains, tres leches cake, churros and sweet bread.

Festive music played and South American scenes were shown in the background, as guests perused a selection of silent-auction items and grabbed raffle tickets for a chance at several exciting items.

“We’re celebrating the children and the staff of this most amazing place,” said Diane McGinn, event co-chair with Gail Prauss and Nancy Cutshall, referencing the nonprofit.

She noted that the center was founded in 1985 “to make certain that those children who are in need, who may have been abandoned and abused, are taken care of and brought into a loving environment.

Since that time, the numbers have grown exponentially,” she added.

McGinn said the Hibiscus Children’s Center has provided children who have been taken from homes where there are real family crises with some 450,000 safe nights.

The ladies of the Vero Beach Hibiscus Guild host this annual event to improve the lives of teenagers, ages 13 through 17, living at the village, who have arrived as victims of child abuse, neglect and abandonment.

There the teens are provided with a safe, secure, and stable family-style home where they can receive counseling, recovery, and educational support. For many of these teens, the village represents a second chance at life; a place where they can heal and embrace hopeful futures filled with promise and possibility.

“We’re also looking forward to their futures; a future where they have the skills that they need that will transition them into a positive adulthood,” said McGinn, adding that their teens have a 100 percent graduation rate.

Their next fundraiser is the April 3 Blue Ribbon Luncheon and Fashion Show at the Oak Harbor Club.

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Photos by Stephanie LaBaff

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