Format changes for Children's Relief Fund annual dinner

Hannah and her friend Nick enjoy a sunny day at the Area 8 Special Olympics field day. Area 8 Special Olympics is just one organization that benefits directly from the Children's Relief Fund. COURTESY AREA 8 SPECIAL OLYMPICS

"An Evening in Italy" will be the theme of a wine dinner March 15 to benefit the local nonprofit Children's Relief Fund and Area 8 Special Olympics.

For two decades, the organization held a dinner-dance with a Valentine's theme. Rose Fotia, founder and chair of the Children's Relief Fund, has planned a new event for this year's fundraiser.

The dinner will be an intimate and elegant event at Venue 1223 on May River Road in Bluffton.

Chef Ryan McCarthy will create a multi-course dinner paired with fine wines in an exciting and glamorous venue.

"We wanted to be creative with our fundraiser this year," Fotia said. "Our faithful supporters will be treated to a special evening of fine dining, celebration and camaraderie. Only 140 reservations can be accepted."

The evening will include dining, wine pairings, live music and a limited live auction. All proceeds raised by CRF, now in its 27th year, benefit the Lowcountry's special needs children and their families.

Programs that are supported include Area 8 Special Olympics, Heroes on Horseback, SOAR, Fishing with Friends, Pockets Full of Sunshine and the Island Recreation Center.

CRF fulfills both tangible and intangible needs for families, providing funding for much-needed equipment such as wheelchairs, prosthetics and medical supplies, and financial support for physical, occupational, behavioral and speech therapies as well as life-enriching programs.

Reservations for the Wine Dinner are $250 per person and can be made online at Email seating requests to rfotia333@

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