01SpeakeasycoverTwenty-one years ago, Better Health debuted a fun and elegant fundraiser called “Evening at the Theater.” Over time, it has evolved from featuring film to live theater to cabaret to casino fun. “The committee felt that ‘Evening of’ with a new theme each year would better suit the fluidity of the event to make each year new, exciting and different,” said Amy Navejas, executive director of Better Health. “This year, we went for an ‘Evening of Prohibition’ theme.” It takes place Feb. 22.

The fun starts at 6 p.m. No speakeasy experience would be complete without cocktails and gambling, and Navejas promised this and more. “There will be plenty for everyone to do,” she said. “Our friends at Xscape Factor are bringing three fun experiences to our event. One will include a prohibition-themed tent for a mini escape room experience.” Teams can enter in groups of three to help solve the mystery and escape before time runs out. The fastest teams to escape will be eligible for prizes at the end of the evening.

Festivities also include a DJ to provide energetic music throughout the night, and of course, plenty of refreshments and casino games.

“The casino is sponsored by Horne Brothers Construction this year,” Navejas said. “The casino games are a lot of fun and always a huge hit. We have blackjack, roulette, craps and poker.”

Each attendee will be given a casino chip, which they can cash out with the pit boss for smaller chips. “They can then visit our numerous playing tables to their heart’s content,” Navejas said. “At the end of the evening, the casino player who has earned the most chips will take home a premier liquor basket.”

Additional chips will be available for sale.

Top of the Hill Organic Spirits will provide cocktails and beer, and the Wine Café and Coffee Cup will provide wine cocktails and coffee cocktails.

“We are really excited for some delicious cocktails and liquor tastings,” Navejas said.

Elite Catering will provide the food. “They have such an amazing menu,” Navejas said. “It was really difficult for the committee to choose. But, there will be a variety of tasty foods, including veggies, seafood, steak, chicken and desserts.”

In addition to the silent auction, guests can also win prizes throughout the night. There will be prizes for the top Xscape Room teams, casino winner, and a chance to win a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, cruise or one-week vacation.

“Those who attend can purchase a ‘Harley Roll,’” Navejas said. “Just roll the dice, which have the letters to spell Harley. If you get all six, you win the Harley. Get five right and win a cruise, get four and win a one-week getaway. Last year, we had several winners.”

While officially, Navejas tells guests the recommended dress is cocktail attire, people often choose to dress according to the theme and some choose to dress more formally. In the end, she just wants people to come and have a good time.

“We want everyone to be comfortable and have a wonderful time for a great cause,” she said.

Better Health was founded in 1958. Its mission is to address the unmet healthcare needs in Cumberland County through education, referral and assistance.

On a daily basis, that means bridging gaps in healthcare services in Cumberland County. Relying heavily on donations and volunteers, Better Health offers a variety of services to the community, including prescription assistance, dental extraction, travel assistance, vision assistance through Lenscrafters, diabetes clinics and classes, exercise classes, medical supplies and medical equipment.

Each year, Better Health serves approximately 500 people with diabetes; approximately 1,200 children in its healthy lifestyle courses; about 1,700 people who obtain emergency medication and pain relief via emergency dental care; about 500 people who obtain medical supplies; and almost 480 families who receive loaned medical equipment.

While most weekdays the Better Health calendar includes classes and events, there are a few significant events throughout the year as well, like the Diabetes … Dodge It! Dodgeball tournament, the Red Apple Run 5K and 10K, and of course the ‘Evening of’ event.

The organization also hosts a free annual Diabetes Symposium, a day-long event with lectures and breakout sessions designed to educate the community about the many aspects of living with diabetes. Call 910-483-7534 to learn more or to register for this year’s symposium.

Last November as a part of Diabetes Awareness Month, Better Health also participated in Project Blue, a diabetes awareness initiative.

These fundraisers make it possible to better serve the community.

Navejas relayed the story of a recent client. “Just a few weeks ago, we had a client come in seeking dental assistance for an abscessed tooth. He had no insurance and had not received routine medical or dental care. We approved him right away for assistance and sent him to our generous partner dentist, Oliver Hodge. Better Health hosts the only same-day emergency dental service in the county. Dr. Hodge extracted his tooth, but also noticed something of concern. He referred the patient for follow-up medical care. Turns out, he had thyroid cancer.

“UNC performed surgery, and the grateful client is now doing well and recovering nicely. He is so appreciative of the assistance. Without that dental care, his cancer may not have been caught in time. This event (Evening of Prohibition) helps us assist clients just like him. I can’t stress that enough. We cannot serve our clients without the support of our generous community.”

This is Better Health’s 60th year serving Cumberland County. “That just amazes me,” Navejas said. “Each year, we serve thousands of clients in need on a tight budget, but with a very dedicated staff. Events like this (Evening of Prohibition) make all of it possible. Come celebrate Better Health’s service to the community with us and help us raise funds to continue going strong for another 60 years.”

Visit www.betterhealthcc.org or call 910-483-7534 for tickets and information.

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