Call it a victorious Sunday for the 44 Ozarks children’s charities that make up this year’s Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper. The second annual Harvest Moon Festival, an elegant culinary event under the stars on the driving range of Highland Springs Country Club, turned into a success.
Roughly $70,000 was raised in a live auction as a crowd of nearly 200 turned out on a picture-perfect September evening on the course’s driving range. The crowd also received thank-yous from the charity directors themselves.
Among them was Dana Lopez of Dogwood Ranch, who along with her husband, Brian, run the Ozark-based non-profit which helps troubled teens to learn to trust adults and steers their lives toward a positive adulthood.
“There was a word that came to me that doesn’t always get used in conjunction with donors, and that’s ‘courageous,’” Lopez said. “I realize that you in attendance have helped me personally overseeing this non-profit to be more courageous in my dreaming, to be courageous and more tenacious in going after services that really benefit and affect our community and help traumatized kids. And you have been courageous in your giving because I know you don’t know, personally, all of the non-profits that you support, and yet you continue to give courageously and generously.”
Lopez later added, “Thank you for putting in the time and effort in your own businesses and your own families for being wise in the way you spend so that you can help us on the front lines. … You are making a difference.”
Lopez’s words came amid a backdrop of exquisite cuisines and desserts as well as the sounds of the local Wings of Swing, a 1940s-like big band.
In other words, PCCC Tournament Director Jerald Andrews, Tournament Chair Sharyn Wagoner and the Harvest Moon Festival steering committee of Phil Daniels, Dwayne Holden, Beth Yarbrough, Russ Marquart, Andy Stewart, Ken Treat, John Ghiradelli and Layne McBride clearly built on last year’s success.
A year ago, the festival debuted on the PCCC schedule and aided in the tournament eclipsing the $1 million threshold, a single-year record.
On Sunday, strong attendance, a solid lineup of culinary teams and the auction fueled more growth.
“We truly appreciate all those who contributed to an enjoyable evening,” Andrews said. “It says a lot about the Ozarks.”
Donating their time and cuisines were Andy Hampshire and the culinary staff from Highland Springs; chef Mike Halbert and the staff from Big Cedar Lodge & Top of the Rock; Daniels and his culinary team from Food IQ; chef Robert Stricklin and the culinary team from the Keeter Center on the campus of College of the Ozarks; chef Elie Ghanem from That Lebanese Place; and Chef Johnson Tan from Ocean Zen.
The auction featured getaways to Casa Suenos, a five-bedroom vacation home in Manzanilla, Mexico; golf trips to TPC Sawgrass, TPC Las Vegas, TPC Rivers Bend (Ohio) and the Westin Savannah (Ga.) Harbor Golf Resort & Spa all courtesy of the PGA Tour; a cigar and whiskey experience courtesy of Macadoodles; a fire pit and getaway to Vail, Colo., courtesy of Holden and Custom MetalCraft; Copper Run Distillery Tour & Tasting by Copper Run and Daniels; Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf package donated by Bass Pro Shops; Mother’s Brewing Company experience courtesy of owner Jeff Schrag; artwork by Cindy Kopenhafer commissioned by the PCCC; dinner for eight at Kansas City’s Piropos Restaurant; RCI Travel package donated by the company; and $1,000 skin care package donated by Matt Kienstra.
Additionally, Metropolitan Grill, Nakato Japanese Steak House, Houlihan’s Ristorante, Gilardi’s, Avanzare Italian Dining, The Tower Club, Fire & Ice Restaurant and Bar; and Highland Springs contributed to a combined gift card.
The impact on local charities could be enormous, one non-profit director said in so many words.
“We had a young girl from one of the local high schools here in Springfield come to us this week, wanting to support a group from her high school. She suffers from mental illness,” said Debra Biggs, executive director of National Alliance of Mental Illness Southwest Missouri, explaining that NAMI has aided the girl in a positive way – so much so that the girl wanted to give back. “There are many stories of hope, many stories of recovery. So by being here today, you are helping create more of those stories of hope, more of those stories and more of those stories of recovery.”
The PCCC’s 2015 total fundraising and check distribution will be announced during the annual Celebration of Sharing on Dec. 8 at Highland Springs Country Club.