Thanksgiving brings out the best in South Florida

Thanksgiving brings out the best in South Florida

Pictured (l-r) are Enid Miguez, Coral Gables First Lady Carmen Cason, and Lynn Bauer, one of the models for the WCA’s Second Time Around Fashion Show.

During the season of giving, the generous South Florida residents never disappoint. From collecting toys and food to providing hands-on help, this season restores the faith of even the most cynical.

Local service organizations have been working overtime in outreach efforts to feed and clothe those in need. In fact, on Thanksgiving Day dinners were provided all over town. Gables Rotarians and family members once again were seen working this year at the Chapman Partnership for the Homeless serving dinner.

At another site, members of the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana continued a 15-year tradition of providing a bountiful Thanksgiving buffet for the more than 150 seniors at Smathers Plaza. For these Rotarians and Kiwanians, Thanksgiving is always about giving back. Tony Lorenzo, president of the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana, notes that Smathers Plaza residents have become like family and that they cherish this opportunity to provide a thanksgiving feast that expresses their appreciation.

Jesus Berrera, director of Smathers Plaza, acknowledged the smiles on the faces of all are testament to the deep seeded connection and positive impact the club has on the lives of residents.

Speaking of generous donors, throughout the year people donate slightly used clothing, jewelry and accessories to the Women’s Cancer Association Thrift Store — some of which is sold annually at the WCS Bush Chapter Second Time Around Fashion Show. This year’s show took place Nov. 19 at Coral Gables’ Courtyard Marriott. A packed house enjoyed shopping in the Bargain Boutique purchasing an assortment of designer clothes and jewelry before enjoying lunch and a fashion show auctioning off the modeled attire. WCA’s old friend and former television weatherman Bob Soper came to town with wife, Susan, to help emcee and provide his wonderful auctioneering skills.

That same week, Gables Rotarians Yolanda Woodbridge helped orchestrate a visit from eight Rotarians visiting from Argentina most of whom stayed with local residents to get a flavor of how we live. They visited most all the local sights of interest including a visit with Coral Gables Mayor Jim Cason in his office.

Speaking of Rotary, the 10th annual Key Biscayne Rotary’s Wine & Food Fest was a great success despite a rainy evening on Nov. 21. The event at Fairways on the Key was packed with hundreds of guests enjoying samplings of amazing food and tasting numerous wines while socializing and bidding on an assortment of great silent auction items.

The affair served to raise funds for the Rotary Club of Key Biscayne and its affiliated charities for adults and children. Among the many faces in the crowd were Phil Lyons, seen judging the wine; Gables Rotarian Yoli Woodbridge; visiting Rotarian from Argentina Silvia Gutierrez, and Key Biscayne Rotary past president Mark Fried, to mention a few.

Finally, the 29th annual National Philanthropy Day Luncheon packed the ballroom at Jungle Island in a program that honored several notable individuals and organizations for their good work and generosity. The affair, co-chaired by Patrick Morris of Sabadell Bank and Barbara Norland of The Women’s Fund of Miami- Dade, was held on Nov. 12.

Among the honorees were Sonja Zuckerman (Lifetime Achievement Award), Jorge Perez (Outstanding Philanthropist), David Lawrence Jr. (James W. McLamore Outstanding Volunteer), Macy’s (Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Julia Tuttle Award for Community Involvement and Corporate Citizenship), and The Miami Foundation (Outstanding Grantmaker).

Congratulations to all those who make our community a better place in which to live, work and play.

Until next time, keep making each day count.

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About the Author

Gloria Burns
A graduate of the University of Florida with a major in Spanish, Burns has an extensive background in advertising, marketing and reciprocal trade, travel as well as non profit consulting and management. Active in many non profits, she received numerous awards across the community. Among her list of current responsibilities, Burns co-chairs two annual student recognition breakfasts for the Coral Gables Friends of Education; helps coordinate charity partners for the Westin Colonnade's Annual Give Kids the World Breakfast; serves on the board of directors of Doral Business Council; is Parliamentarian and serves on the board of the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club; serves the board of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables and is Publicity Chair; and is a member of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee. Gloria is also an active member of the Music Ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, where she sings in the choir. She can be reached at

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