Local Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchise helps raise over $900,000 for children, families

Photo courtesy of Tropical Smoothie Cafe. Tropical Smoothie Cafe CEO Mike Rotondo (left) and employees presented a $910,000 check to Camp Sunshine staff and volunteers in Casco, Maine, on Aug. 8 as the result of a three-month fundraising campaign.

Photo courtesy of Tropical Smoothie Cafe. Tropical Smoothie Cafe CEO Mike Rotondo (left) and employees presented a $910,000 check to Camp Sunshine staff and volunteers in Casco, Maine, on Aug. 8 as the result of a three-month fundraising campaign.

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — For families with children battling life-threatening illnesses, an escape from doctor’s visits is made possible by Camp Sunshine.

For the 10th year, Tropical Smoothie Cafe locations throughout the country raised money to send 2,000 families to the retreat.

“Corporate went through and looked for a great organization to get behind,” Tropical Smoothie Cafe Michigan Area Developer Debbie King said. “It’s a phenomenal cause to support and we are excited we can raise money for the families.”

Over 300 stores were able to raise $910,000, with 53 Michigan stores throughout the state raising the most at $91,497.

From May to July, the Tropical Smoothie Cafe at 22905 Michigan Ave. was able to fundraise $963 with three donation options for customers. Donators were able to select a $1, $5 or $10 option where they received a paper flip-flop-shaped paper sign on which to write their name, a key fob and coffee mug, respectively.

“I enjoyed fundraising for the camp and children,” Dearborn Tropical Smoothie Cafe General Manager Racheel Sawicki said. “Customers were receptive with helping raise money for such a good cause.”

Tropical Smoothie Café has raised more than $5 million over the past 10 years for Camp Sunshine.

The money collected will pay for local families near each Tropical Smoothie Café location to attend Camp Sunshine in Casco, Maine. Sending a child to the week-long camp costs $2,500 each per child, with additional money collected used to cover the cost of their families.

At the award-winning camp, attending families join other families on similar journeys and experience the benefits of empathy and encouragement, recovery and recreation.

“Each week at the camp is specific to an illness with doctors who donate their time to talk with families,” King said. “Support groups are also available for the parents to speak with other parents.”

Children can enjoy normal camp activities during their week with fishing, swimming and horseback riding.

Tropical Smoothie Café CEO Mike Rotondo presented the check to Camp Sunshine Aug. 8 in front of more than 300 family members, volunteers and staff.

“Tropical Smoothie has become an integral partner of Camp Sunshine over the past 10 years,” Executive Director of Camp Sunshine Michael Katz said in a press release. “Their enthusiasm for our families is vital to carrying out our mission.”

For more information on the camp go to campsunshine.org.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)

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