09 Pic 44You don't want to miss out on the 21st Annual Toast of the Town Wine, Beer, & Spirits Tasting and Silent Auction. A signature fundraiser for The CARE Clinic of Fayetteville, the event arrives May 6 at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden at 536 N Eastern Blvd. from 6-10 p.m. Food, fun and a good cause await.

Come out for a night out in the beautiful gardens enjoying an assortment of finger foods and desserts served by Elite Catering. Wine Café will have various wines to explore, while specialty spirits will be provided by Durham Distillery and Lizard Lick Brewery and Distillery. Local brewing companies Bright Light and Mash House will be in attendance delivering hometown hops, too. The popular silent auction includes trips to destinations not offered in the past Key West, Canadian Rockies, Sedona Iceland and more.

A wide range of fun-themed baskets will also be available for bidding during the silent auction, including Escapology Party for 8, The Goddess Basket, The Best Mom Ever Basket, Flowers for a Year, Paint for a Cause Board and Brush, Stud Muffin Basket, Rugged Outdoor Basket, Happy Humidor Basket, Family Fun Basket, Kids' Basket and more.

Event proceeds benefit The CARE Clinic, a private nonprofit organization that provides free basic medical care and dental extraction services for eligible uninsured, low-income adults living in Cumberland County and surrounding areas. Located at 239 Robeson Street, the clinic opened its doors to the community Nov. 16, 1993.

The clinic receives no government funding and relies solely on donations, grants and annual fundraising events like The Toast of the Town to provide health care services to the community. Additionally, CARE Clinic patients have assisted in their care by donating more than $306,863 since its founding.

The clinic serves approximately 1500 patients a year and handles 734,000 prescriptions. Since its inception, The CARE clinic has helped some 37,500 patients with service demands rising sharply during the pandemic.

The 501c3 entity could not operate without the gift of time provided by volunteer staff: doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, dentists, dental assistants, nurses, pharmacy assistants, chiropractors, social workers, nutritionists, physical therapists and orthopedists. These health care professionals treat patients with the compassion and care they deserve. The clinic also relies on our numerous nonclinical staff who assist The CARE clinic's small staff in performing the tasks needed while also serving on the clinic board and various committees.

Volunteers are vital at The CARE Clinic, and both medical and nonmedical opportunities abound. When it comes time for fundraising events like Toast of the Town, community volunteers take center stage through sponsorship, prize donations and event planning. Other fundraising events include the winter Evening of CARE dinners, now in its 24th year, and a fall Golf Charity tournament.

The Toast of the Town has gone through many transformations in its 21 years. The first Toast of the Town was held in Saint Patrick's Catholic Church in 2000. With a smaller variety of wines, food, water and entertainment, the clinic fundraiser netted $4,000 that first year. Within the past two decades, The CARE Clinic has found overwhelming support from sponsors and community members to provide a night ensuring enjoyment. With this support, the event has raised eight times the original event each year since. The CARE Clinic couldn't achieve these goals without those in attendance. Starting with only 86 participants, the signature event now boasts 350-400 people annually.

Precautions concerning COVID-19 have become a priority over the last year. Due to the extent of the pandemic, the clinic did not host a live Toast of the Town in 2020. CARE clinic staff and supporters are excited to see event-goers in person this year.

The health and safety of attendees to this year's Toast of the Town are of high consideration. Event vendors will set up on the CFBG lawn to allow space for social distancing. This distancing extends indoors with seating options and at silent auction tables ― touch-free this year via item QR codes. For those not comfortable attending the live event, online participation for auction bidding is an option. For those who do choose to attend, masks will be provided at the door.

Support is needed each year to make the Taste of the Town a success. To become a corporate sponsor, silent auction item donor, or your name added to the invitation list for next year's event, please contact Monica at The CARE Clinic at 910-485-0555 development@thecareclinic.org.

Tickets can be ordered at https://www.toastofthetownfay.com/ and are $75 per person in advance and $100 at the door. Find event details and virtual participation options by visiting https://www.thecareclinic.org/.

Mark your calendars for May 6 for the Toast of the Town event. Enjoy good food and a variety of tasty beverages while contributing to the community.

CARE Clinic patient information:

To be eligible for The CARE Clinic's services, you must be 18 years or older; have no insurance, including Medicaid; meet an income requirement; and display proof of household income and a valid, North Carolina DMV-issued picture ID card or driver's license showing your current address.

Call 910-485-0555 to make an appointment. Appointments are made only by phone; no walk-ins. Medical appointments can be made Monday- Thursday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dental appointments can be made Friday from 9 a.m. to noon for the following week.

The clinic serves patients each Tuesday and Thursday and the second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Dental clinics are every Tuesday and the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. Appointments are made on a space-available basis.

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