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Heroes of Hope

Camp Happy Days Gala set to raise big bucks for west Ashley charity


November 17, 2017
By Rachel Castejón | Contributing Writer

In a small office suite on Carriage Lane in West Ashley, Camp Happy Days executive director and native Charlestonian Cindy Hay Johnson and her team are putting together the last minute details of this year’s Heroes of Hope Gala set for this Friday, Nov. 17. For the 28th year in a row the community will gather to eat, drink, dance, and raise money for Camp Happy Days, a non-profit that provides “cost-free, year-round programs, special events, and access to crisis resources for children suffering from pediatric cancer and their families.”

Aiming to improve “the physical, emotional, and psychological health of the entire family” the camp’s fundraising team hopes to strike big this year with ticket sales and the silent auction- all for the benefit of the children and their families.

To make this happen they depend heavily on donations in order to be able to “pour the money [they] raise back into [their] programs.” The donations come in all types: food, drinks, decorations, event services, printing needs, and auction items. These gifts from the community helped raise more than $200,000 last year and with this year’s all-star sponsor line up Camp Happy Days is on track to do it again.

With an approximate 350-400 guests expected to attend this year, food and beverage sponsors Kickin’ Chicken, Swig and Swine, Krispy Kreme, Graze, Queen Street Catering, BreakThru Beverage SC, Kaminsky’s, and Jack Daniels have their work cut out for them feeding and imbibing all those camp supporters. This year’s attendees will be treated to a raw bar with oysters on the half shell, spicy braised shrimp and lobster, charcuterie and cheeses, lamb crostini, a signature drink, and an open bar with plenty of beer, wine, and mixed drinks to name a few. It certainly wouldn’t be a party in the Lowcountry without all that seafood. Or the open bar.

Although he won’t be cooking at the gala, you will be able to bid on a catered party for 50 by Camp Happy Days “catering hero”, Jamie Westendorff who runs Charleston Outdoor Catering off St. Andrew’s Boulevard. Westendorff heads up the mess hall at the camp free of charge every year, not only donating his time, but the nourishing food he cooks with as well. The Camp Happy Days team brands him as “one of the most generous people [they] know, in heart and deed.” His silent auction catering donation is surely one not to miss.

Since the start of Camp Happy Days “over 1,500 children have benefited” from the camp’s programs and services and this gala is not their only fund-raiser, but it is their largest. Johnson and her team are still selling last-minute tickets on their website, www.camphappydays.org/gala/ and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll snatch one up.

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