The annual fundraiser included donations from the Blue Knights Florida Chapter 22 and the Italian American Social Club of Palm Coast.
About 90 people gathered at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8696 for an evening of fun and fundraising on Saturday, May 18, at "Denim and Diamonds."
The annual fundraiser hosted by Friends of Flagler raised $1,900, which is $100 more than last year, said Friends of Flagler Chair Roe Barletta. The fundraiser included donations from the Blue Knights Florida Chapter 22 and the Italian American Social Club of Palm Coast. The money will benefit Christmas with a Deputy, an event going into its 12th year that arranges for local kids to go Christmas shopping with law enforcement.
"Larry Jones started this 12 years ago at his kitchen table," Christmas with a Deputy President Louis Miceli said. "Him and his wife were sitting down having a conversation. He wanted to help the kids in the community, and they had a few extra bucks come at the end of the year before the holidays. He told his wife this is what he wanted to do, and they started out very small with 10 or 12 kids. ... Last year, we took 185 kids shopping, and that's thanks to Friends of Flagler who always does this event for us and contributes to our cause. They've been behind us for the last five or six years now."
Barletta said fundraising for this cause makes her feel the Christmas spirit.
"I went one year and saw all the police cars and all the kids, and if that doesn't bring a tear to your eye and humble you and make you want to do it again. ... It's just, how could you not want to make a kid smile at Christmas?" Barletta said.
The festivities at Denim and Diamonds include an auction, entertainment by Tim Rippey, dinner, an appearance from Santa Claus — and even a "jail" that assigned deputies can throw guests in for all sorts of wacky rules they determine — all in the name of fundraising, Barletta said.
"In order to get bailed out of the jail, it costs you $1, and you can't be bailed out by the person who put you in," she said. "You make a lot of friends."
Miceli said the fundraiser is all about the kids Christmas with a Deputy will make smile.
"We do this every year just to try to make sure that everybody has a special Christmas and there's always something under the tree," Miceli said. "What we do is we give each child $150 for them to be able to go shopping, not only for themselves, but they can use it for their family, their moms, their dads, their sisters and brothers; and we encourage that."