Community Conversations

There’s still lots of time to help others for Thanksgiving

Members of the networking group Prime Time Miami (Brickell) Chapter gather with some of the donations they’ve collected for lesser-known charities in South Florida.
Members of the networking group Prime Time Miami (Brickell) Chapter gather with some of the donations they’ve collected for lesser-known charities in South Florida.

Give thanks, and give to others this Thanksgiving.

That’s what members of the business networking group Prime Time have been doing for some of the lesser-known charities in our South Florida communities. About 300 Prime Time members in 10 chapters from Coral Gables to Boca Raton have already gathered and delivered donations for various collection drives.

The charities that received turkeys, canned goods, diapers and gift cards include the Victims Assistance Center and its SafeSpace shelters for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking; Mana Benevolent Outreach; Ruth’s Ministries; the Broward Outreach Center of Hollywood, Pack the Pantry Campaign; and JCS Kosher Food Bank.

“Some of the groups we’ve donated to are lesser-known charities who don’t always get the attention they deserve,” said intellectual property attorney Jorge Espinosa, president of Prime Time’s Miami (Brickell) chapter, which donated to the Victims Assistance Center.

You can learn more about Prime Time at www.ptbusinessnetwork.com. Thanksgiving dinner donations are still being accepted at 2400 S. Dixie Hwy., Miami. Call 305-285-5900.

To donate items for one family, include in a bag: the following supplies: a can of corn, packaged stuffing, packaged mashed potatoes, a can of cranberries, and a Walmart gift card for $20 to buy the turkey. Or you can donate a $30 Walmart gift card for a turkey and sides.

Helping the troops

Pinecrest native David McKean has been named honorary commander of the 367th Fighter Squadron at Homestead Air Reserve Base for his contributions to airmen and other personnel at the South Florida military installation.

A Dairy Queen executive and entrepreneur, McKean was honored in a ceremony at the base by Lt. Colonel Ryan Ley, who commands more than 150 pilots and other flight and ground staff. McKean has donated thousands of Dilly Bars, Blizzards and other iconic Dairy Queen treats, gift certificates and more for the military men and women who serve our community and country.

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A couple of cones sit on the counter at Dairy Queen. Juan Guajardo Star-Telegram

His company also delivered two large custom-designed ice cream coolers — decorated with pictures of F-16 fighter jets, flags and other patriotic imagery — to the air base’s break rooms, where they will be permanently stocked.

“The men and women on the base are performing an invaluable service to protect our nation, so it’s a big honor for me to provide them a just little treat when they want one,” McKean said. “My dad was a U.S. Marine, and he instilled in me a great appreciation of our military from a very young age.”

McKean’s sponsorship has led to broader support by Entrepreneur Organization — South Florida, a local business group. The group has invited air base personnel to special events, and soon it will launch a guest speaker and mentoring program for the pilots and support staff.

“These are very young men and women, usually in their 20s, and they need guidance,” said Darren Seys, a board member of EO SOFLO and founder of Peak Seven advertising agency. “We can provide mentoring on starting a business, joining a company or just integrating back into the civilian community.”

“One of EO’s core values is to ‘leave a mark’ and serve our community,” Seys said. “It’s extra special to do this for these young South Florida men and women who bravely serve our country in the air and on the ground.”

For more on EO SOFLO, visit www.eosoflo.com.

Helping children smile

Congratulations to members of The Miami Woman’s Club, who helped raise $2,400 for the international medical charity Operation Smile. The donation will help cover expenses for 10 corrective surgeries for children and young adults in developing countries who are born with cleft lip or palate.

Founded in 1900, the historic Miami women’s organization joined forces with other clubs to support the volunteer-based surgical group. Operation Smile was started in 1982 by a plastic surgeon and his wife, a nurse and social worker.

During volunteer work in the Philippines, they found hundreds of children with the disfigurements and vowed to return to help.

Learn more about how you can change a life by donating to Operation Smile at www.operationsmile.org.

Holiday home tour

The Villagers will present their annual Holiday House Tour, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 1 with the theme “Architectural Gems South of Sunset.”

The tour features homes designed by notable architects. Guests can also enjoy a gift boutique, the popular Attic Treasures vintage shop, refreshments, and the raffle of a handcrafted flamingo-themed quilt commemorating historic Hialeah Race Track.

If you haven’t done this fun tour before, visitors walk and drive in their own vehicles between the properties. Note that venues cannot accommodate wheelchairs, strollers or high heels, and photography and video are not permitted. Tickets are $35 and must be purchased in advance online at www.thevillagersinc.org.

Ticket holders will receive meeting and driving directions with their purchase. Proceeds support preservation and protection of historic sites in Miami-Dade County.

CANESINO night

Help raise funds for the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame at the first CANESINO Night, 7-11 p.m., Dec. 8 at The Loft on Bayshore, 3601 S. Miami Ave. The event will feature tables of games including roulette wheels and a “high rollers” table for the experienced gambler.

Early Bird tickets are $99 until Dec. 1. Tickets are $150 at the door. Admission includes $100 in playing chips, food, one drink, photo booth, a silent auction and raffle. Use UBER code “CANES” to get a $5 discount on a ride to the event.

Purchase your tickets at www.UMSportsHallofFame.com or call 305-284-2775.

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at christinammayo@gmail.com.
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