Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday October 21st 2014

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Got Chocolate?

By Jennie McKeon

This weekend, indulge in chocolate.  Don’t think twice about calories, it’s for a good cause. The Gulf Coast Kid’s House (GCKH) is having its Ninth Annual Chocolate Fest.

Created by Teri Levin and Nancy Halford, this is the second largest fundraiser for the local nonprofit.

“We had a few tough years,” said Stacey Kostevicki, executive director of Gulf Coast Kid’s House. “But last year we were able to raise just over $29,000. Our goal this year is to raise $30,000.”

Tickets are $10 in advance and can be purchased at Gulf Coast Kid’s House, Sandy Sansing Dealerships, the downtown Gulf Coast Community Bank, Sam’s Club and online. Tickets are $15 at the door. With your ticket, you get a “to-go” box to fill up with treats of your choice. All proceeds benefit GCKH.  Last year, 90 percent of the Kid’s House revenues came from local donors.

“Money raised goes into what we call our ‘house fund’ and help to provide direct services to the child victims of abuse we serve and help to cover operational expenses of the building,” Kostevicki said. “Our building is 13,500 square feet and we house six partner agencies that work with victims of abuse.  These funds help us to support our partner agencies so that we all can better support the families that come through our doors.”
The Chocolate Fest is sponsored by Sandy Sansing Dealerships and Cumulus Broadcasting and will be held inside the Cordova Mall. The Gulf Coast Kid’s House provides local children who have been abused a “one-house concept,” as Kostevicki called it. Child abuse prevention education is also available to the community.

“Because partner agencies are co-housed in one child-friendly facility, we are able to offer more comprehensive and streamlined intervention and investigation services, and we are able to minimize trauma to children and families,” Kostevicki said.

Sadly, child abuse cases are not uncommon in Escambia County.

“Each year, approximately 4500 cases are being reported to the Department of Children and Families,” Kostevicki said. “Child abuse is real and it is right here.”
So, you see, it’s more than just eating chocolate. Donating to Gulf Coast Kid’s House helps keep local children safe, which is a much sweeter deal.
“We are dedicated to ending the cycle of abuse,” Kostevicki said.

CHOCOLATE FEST
WHEN: 12 p.m. Saturday, April 21
WHERE: Cordova Mall, 5100 N. Ninth Ave.
COST: $10 in advance, $15 at the door
DETAILS: pensacolachocolatefest.com