EPCAR Benefit Gala Offers Masquerade Ball And Casino Night
by James Coulter
For the past four years, Virginia Grant, of Paramount Titles, has been attending the annual benefit gala for the East Polk County Association Of Realtors (EPCAR).
She loves the music and dancing. She loves how other people enjoy the casino games provided at the event. And she especially loves how it allows realtors to come together to have a good time while raising money for a good cause.
“I love the band, the dancing is amazing, the music is fabulous, and it is a good time to hang out and not work,” she said.
The annual benefit gala is the biggest and best event of the year for EPCAR, allowing them to raise money for different local causes within the Polk County Community. This year’s benefactor were the Care Centers in Dundee, Lake Hamilton, and Frostproof.
Grant herself loved how this year’s event was hosted at the Lake Eva Event Center in Haines City. The more spacious venue allowed more people to show up and for more activities to be held during the event, she said.
“It gets better and better,” she said. “What I love is that, as an industry, we get to come together and have a good time, and at the end of the day, we benefit a good cause.”
This year’s benefit gala was themed as a masquerade ball, allowing guests to arrive dressed in their best and wearing masks that they either brought along with themselves or which were provided at the event.
During the event, guests could enjoy appetizers and finger food, listen and dance to live musical entertainment, or test their luck with many casino games provided by the Lions Club. To play these games, real money could be traded for fake money, which could then be used to play roulette, horse race betting, and other casino-style games.
The event has been hosted for the past five years, and has grown each and every year. This year alone saw a 30 percent increase in turnout from last year’s event, said Lamanda Jones, President of EPCAR.
What allows the event to be successful each and every year has been their commitment towards helping the local community by giving back to local causes, she explained.
“Because realtors support our community,” Jones said. “It is realtors doing what realtors do: supporting our community and giving back. [I enjoy] getting to spend times with not only our colleauges but other businesses and members of the local community and partners.”
David Vandelberg, Director of Operations from the Lake Hamilton Care Center, attended the event that evening, as his organization was a main benefactor of its fundraising efforts.
He had met EPCAR’s current president, Jones, at a Woman’s Club Meeting. He appreciated her passion for helping the local community, and especially what his own organization had to offer for it. This was the second year that his organization attended the event, and the first year that he himself attended personally.
“As a beneficiary of the resources generated here, we felt we could be a part of it, and we hope to continue this partnership for many years to come,” he said.
Vandelberg was amazed by the number of people who decided to attend that evening. This made him proud to realize that so many people were willing to help out an organization such as his own, and thus help further its mission to the community.
“The Lake Wales Care Center is a community outreach organization that demonstrates Christ’s love to help those who are in need, and those folks with a desire to serve, and this group of people have a desire to serve.”