Brewing up funds for Toys for Kids

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June 13, 2014

Hundreds of revelers raised a glass to a good cause at the inaugural Panama City Beach, Florida Beer Festival on June 7, complete with craft beers, live music and great weather.

Sponsored by AVIAN LLC and hosted by Fishale Taphouse and Grill, the highly-anticipated festival was a sold-out success, which served as an excuse for beer lovers to day-drink under the sun and raise funds to benefit the Toys for Kids Foundation (TFK), a charity that helps underprivileged children in the Bay County, Florida area.

“I heard about the Beer Festival from my friend, Chris Pfahol [Fishale Marketing Director], and knew it would be a great way for AVIAN to get more involved in the Panama City community,” said Geoff McConnell, AVIAN’s regional director for Panama City.

McConnell specializes in flight test and evaluation of the Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) system at the Naval Support Activity, Panama City. He is the lead for AVIAN’s COBRA team, and is also the company’s face to the customer, heading up AVIAN’s business development activities in Panama City. “Toys for Kids is a great charity and sponsoring the festival was a lot of fun,” McConnell said.

Although TFK’s main mission is to brighten the Christmas holiday for those in need in Bay County, it has evolved into a year-round charitable effort with multiple events dedicated to raising funds for the purchase of toys, learning tools, personal hygiene and clothing items throughout the year.

“Basically, we’re like Santa Claus,” said Chris Moates, president and founder of the Toys for Kids Foundation. “We receive a list of children from agencies and schools and fulfill their requests. Sponsorships from companies like AVIAN are great because they help cover our event costs so all of the funds raised go toward purchasing gifts.”

AVIAN’s participation in this event reflects the company’s desire to play an active role in community events in each of its regional locations. Last year, AVIAN supported more than twenty non-profit organizations dedicated to a wide variety of causes.

“AVIAN believes in giving back to the community,” said John Slaughter, AVIAN’s vice president of business processes. “The Toys for Kids Foundation is passionate about helping children in need, so we know that when we support an organization like this, our contributions are going directly to the kids that need our help.”

This year, two of our largest sponsorship events were held on the same day supporting Toys for Kids in Panama City and Relay for Life in Leonardtown, Maryland.

“Our company is unique; we don’t have a shortage of people willing to support the community; we are constantly seeking opportunities to make a difference and simplify people’s lives.” Slaughter said.

The Fishale Taphouse and Grill plans to hold the Panama City Beach Beer Festival as an annual summer charity event.