Golden Coconut Winner - 2005

Dear Phellow Parrotheads,

It is with a great amount of pride in our club that I submit this entry for the Golden Coconut Award. This has been a very busy and rewarding year for all of us. Our club has been recognized numerous times, in the newspapers, on local t.v. stations and in City Hall during Town Council Meetings. We are so proud of the response and recognition we receive from our community.

This year, our club donated over $124,468.00 to local charities. Our club’s focus is definitely on the community in which we live. We give most of our monies raised to those organizations who help the less fortunate. Sometimes we are able to help one on one, and other times we are just the silent workers behind the scenes. We have also had some major accomplishments this year that will have long lasting impact on our environment. I would like to share with you some of the activities we have been engaged in.

Last July we were notified that the “Artificial Reef Foundation” was ready to use the monies we had been donating for several years to clean up an old boat we had purchased to be sunk offshore to create an artificial reef. We named the boat “Bubba’s Boat” and many of us were able to follow “Bubba’s Boat” out to sea and watch it sink. There were many photos taken by the Foundation and we were written up in their journals. Our reef will appear on nautical charts as “Bubba’s Boat, (followed by the name of our club.”

August is always a very active month for us. We started by donating $2,025.00 to our town to purchase a wheelchair, specially equipped to travel on sand, for handicapped people to use to access the beach. We were recognized in Town Hall at a Town Council meeting for this. The real reward came recently when one of our members was stopped by a visitor in town and was told how grateful he was to the club for providing this wheelchair that allowed him to take his invalid dad to the beach for the day.

This is also the time for our annual school supply drive social. We collected two truckloads of school supplies, backpacks and lunch boxes. These were given to a local social services agency for distribution to the poor families on their lists. We also collected over $200.00 at the social, which was also turned over to the agency to purchase additional school supplies.

This August was our first annual “Kiddie Krab Roundup”. We had 200 children participate in this free event. It is designed for the children to have fun while the adults from the local environmental groups teach them about the importance of taking care of their environment. The children catch crabs and all receive prizes. This is not a money maker, it is just something we do for our community.

September is when we hold our largest phlocking. A gathering of Parrotheads from 5 states. We hire Buffett tribute bands, hold silent auctions and raffles and just celebrate all weekend long. All the money raised goes to charities. We donated $2,000.00 to the Artificial Reef Foundation, an on-going project building an artificial reef 10 miles off shore. We also donated $2,000.00 to the local Humane Society, a “no kill” animal shelter. Many of our club members donate their time there caring for the animals. The third charity this year is a public art project for our town. The Parrothead Club will purchase, and have erected next year, a bronze sculpture depicting children at play .This will be erected in a new park in our town. We recently attended the ground-breaking for the new park. We also raised money for the hurricane victims in Florida. Club members and guests at the event donated over $1600.00 which we sent to the Naples, Fla. Parrothead Club who were coordinating relief efforts for the American Red Cross. The Red Cross sent us a very nice thank you letter. We also donated $250.00 to a local “musician’s jam”. All monies they collected were sent to local schools to support the music programs of the school.

October is our annual canned food drive for the local food pantry. We combine this with our Halloween social, and this year this social alone raised $250.00 and a van full of boxes of groceries. Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, we also sponsored a tee at a golf tournament benefiting the American Cancer Society for $250.00.

November is our kick off party and social for the “Holiday Family Program”. It is at this social that we erect a Christmas tree and decorate it with cards listing the “wants” and “needs” of less fortunate families. This social alone raised over $1200.00 in cash to be used to purchase some items as well as food baskets and buckets of supplies not covered by food stamps or W.I.C. There were 50 tags on the tree this year, and all were removed by the end of the social. All the gifts will be brought to a member’s home before Christmas and several members will assist with the distribution. Gift certificates for Thanksgiving dinners were given to each of our six families as well. This month we also sponsored our local youth sports teams. The local Park and Recreation Department will put our club logo on team jerseys. We donated $2,450.00 for their programs.

December gets off to a great start with our annual Chili Cookoff. This event draws competitors from near and far to compete. It is home to an official “CASI” (Chili Appreciation Society International) event. The CASI competition is judged separately with its own set of rules. We have our local restaurants and “private sector” entries vying for bragging rights for the “best chili in town”. The purpose of the event is to raise money and collect toys for the needy. We support the local Sheriff’s Department toy drive and also collect cash at the door for our Holiday Family Program. We filled a paddy wagon full of toys and collected $1600.00 in cash at the door. This was our most successful year yet for our Holiday Family Program. Our club was able to sponsor 6 families. We helped 26 children and 6 adults to have a better holiday.

This year we made our first attempt at entering a local “Penguin Swim” on January 1st. Our team was called the “Parrothead Plungers” and we actually carried plungers into the icy cold waters. We came in 3rd place having raised $4,363.00 for the local hospital. It was fun and an event we will repeat next year.

January is also the month of our kick off party for our biggest fund raiser of the year, to be held in March. We begin raising funds now and continue until the night of our Mardi Gras celebration in March. We have 4 Kings and 4 Queens competing for the title of King and Queen of the Mardi Gras. The man and women who raises the most money will be crowned at the Mardi Gras celebration.

The month of February is filled with small fundraisers, organized by the King and Queen candidates. Many of our club members help them to plan and organize their events.

March is the Big One!! This is the town’s most talked about and best attended event each year. This year we raised a whopping $92,000.00! That is how much we were able to give to a local Family Counseling Service, after expenses! We also donated $1,800.00 of the monies raised to the charity fund of our local Chef’s and Cooks Association for preparing the food for our Mardi Gras.

April is the time for our annual “MargaREADaville”, a book drive benefiting the local schools. We collected hundred of new books that were distributed to the local elementary, junior and senior high schools. April is also the month for the MS Walk. This year our club raised over $2,000. for MS research. Many club members walked on a very cold windy day.

May is our time to Walk for the American Cancer Society. Our club sponsors a team in the Relay for Life. This is an over-night camping event during which participating teams keep someone from the team on the walking track all thru the night. Our team raised over $5,000.00 this year, coming in 5th place, but missing 3rd by only $600.00.! They are already gearing up for next year. Our club sponsors this event with a donation of $500.00 which gets our logo on their tee shirts.

Many of our club members are also involved with a local organization that provides book bags and four new books for each first grader at the end of the school year. This program is intended to help the child retain his/her new reading skills. Our club sponsored a whole classroom, for $350.00, and purchased book bags and four new books for each child in the class. We were especially privileged this year to be able to be a “Founder” level sponsor of a new Veteran’s Memorial erected in our area. We donated $1,000.00 toward the construction and are recognized on a sign at the site.

In June we sponsor a Sandcastle Contest which raises money for Play It Safe, a program that provides teens visiting our area in the summer with free and safe, alcohol free, entertainment. This year we raised $ 3,080.00 for Play It Safe.

We do have one day a year where we just have fun. That is our annual Birthday celebration in June. We hire a Buffett tribute band and give out silly awards to our members recognizing their hours of hard work.

There are so many more activities that we engage in on a year round basis. Our town has come to depend upon us to help support some of their projects. We recently gave them a donation of $1,000 for a beautification project in the downtown area, $100.00 for the local Art League, $200.00 to the local Volunteer Firefighter’s Association toward a new memorial they are building.

We raise money all year long for our Parrothead Club Scholarship Program. This new program is gearing up to give out its first scholarship next May. We will be able to present a deserving student with at least $1,000. to defray some school expenses. The money will be sent directly to the college of his/her choice. We have been raising money for this program through raffles, sales of state license plates.

Our flamingo phlockings raise money throughout the year for the American Cancer Society. This fun bunch of flamingos appear overnight in front yards. We are paid to put them on other peoples lawns. They stay just a day, then disappear as quickly as they appeared. A great and fun way to raise funds.

We also collect pop tops, how appropriate, for Ronald McDonald House and old cell phones for the battered women’s shelter.

Our members are volunteers at the local hospital, teach reading to adults in a Literacy program and volunteer countless hours to the local environmental groups.

We are a very visible part of our community. We have made some great friends and best of all, we have helped a lot of people to have a better quality of life. We are all so very proud of this Parrothead Community. Not just our own, but all the wonderful Parrotheads out there who do so much to make this world a better place. Thank you for considering our club for recognition.