Camp Sunshine presented its first-ever Ray of Light Award for outstanding support of the charity, to Tropical Smoothie Café. Mike Rotondo, CEO of Tropical Smoothie Café, accepted the award on behalf of the brand. Over the past 10 years, the better-for-you fast-casual restaurant brand has successfully raised and donated more than $3.7 million to send families of children with life- threatening illnesses to the one-of-a-kind family retreat located in Casco, Maine. Camp Sunshine surprised Rotondo with the presentation at an annual golf tournament fundraiser in Richmond, Virginia, hosted by Tom Cabble and Gemini and Bhupi Patel, some of Tropical Smoothie Café's franchisees' most ardent supporters of the program.
"No other organization has given us more support than Tropical Smoothie Café," says Anna Gould, founder and board chair of Camp Sunshine. "The awareness they bring to our program is invaluable, as they're not only fundraising, they're making sure customers know that Camp Sunshine's resources are available to eligible families in their area. We are so incredibly fortunate to have such a committed and engaged partner on our side." Last year, Camp Sunshine hosted an estimated 650 families from 42 states and 12 countries completely free of charge.
"I am incredibly humbled to accept the Ray of Light award on behalf of Tropical Smoothie Café," Rotondo says. "You need only spend a few minutes with the Camp Sunshine staff, its volunteers, campers, or its families to recognize that they are the bright spots in our world. Anything we can do to help foster their well-being is a privilege for us."
Tropical Smoothie Café has already begun its fundraising efforts for this year, with a number of initiatives that motivate guests to give whatever donations they can. The centerpiece of the drive is the brand's own holiday created to drive awareness and raise funds for Camp Sunshine, National Flip Flop Day. On this day, guests are invited to wear flip-flops in café for a free Jetty Punch smoothie from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, June 17 and have the option to donate $1 or more to Camp Sunshine. Last year's National Flip Flop Day raised $1 million for Camp Sunshine.