Cabana by The Style® and Safe Water for Walton partner for community event and launch party
Special to The Seaside Times
Safe Water for Walton has been a registered non-profit organization and local grassroots group for just nine months, yet already has racked up successes and a long list of members — both year-round and part-time residents and business owners — due in large part to a membership drive kick-off May 4, hosted by Cabana by The Seaside Style®.
The “party within a party” was held at the former Perspicasity, Seaside’s well-known market for clothing, shoes and accessories.
“For nearly 35 years, Perspicasity has been the iconic open-air market steps from the beach in Seaside. The pavilions have continued to evolve every few years with a change of fashion offerings,” said Erica Pierce, CEO of The Seaside Style®. “The new selection was curated with cabana living in mind, now in a new and fresh shopping environment. Collections include flowy caftans, soft linen pieces, cotton casual wear — and every item is perfect for a day-to-evening transition, reflecting a relaxed coastal vibe.”
More than 300 attendees enjoyed the grand re-opening reception, which included several giveaways, signature cocktails by Oxen’s craft mixers, trunk shows by Enewton Designs, Fresh Laundry Clothing and Jon Hart Designs.
“Cabana by The Seaside Style® appreciates how Safe Water for Walton has been so inclusive across the county, and especially how it is finding unique, non-duplicative community projects to protect our local water supply and regional watershed,” said Kendall Andrews, ecommerce director for The Seaside Style®.
More than $7,000 has been raised since the non-profit started its yearlong membership drive in March. Charter members who join in 2018 are automatically members through 2019 as well.
All of the Board members — and many on the soon-to-be-announced Leadership Advisory Council — have either worked in State government in Tallahassee, or on various county and regional public policy issues over the years.
A few highlights from the list of accomplishments by Safe Water for Walton so far:
• Continues to be the leading voice in Walton County against a “deep injection well” for toxic landfill leachate in Jackson County, as proposed by a private vendor. The permit is pending on file with the State, with no timetable or deadline for either approval or denial. The County Commissions in Jackson, Gadsden, and Walton counties all passed unanimous resolutions in 2017 against this State regulatory permit application — as have all three cities in Walton County (Freeport, DeFuniak Springs, and Paxton). This existential threat to the region’s public water supply continues to be the No. 1 priority of the group — and is what galvanized it into being formed last fall, after its founder started work on the issue in April 2017.
• Launched a website made possible with support from Seaside merchants and residents, including The Seaside Style®.
• Helped convince Florida Gov. Rick Scott to veto a disconcerting legislative bill with concerns about contentious sewage effluent wastewater treatment expansions.
• Launched an expert speaker series. The first event in late July features national best-selling author and water policy expert Cynthia Barnett — who is well-known to the Seaside community from her time with “Escape to Create.” The venue and details on this special lecture and book signing in late July will be announced on the group’s Facebook page, @safewaterforwalton. Members are admitted free with advance reservations. General admission tickets will be sold online.
• Organized Walton County’s first-ever “Operation Medicine Cabinet” with State funding support, and a U.S. Southeastern expert in hazardous waste disposal. Plans are already under way to make this pharmaceuticals/medicines collection drop-off an annual event. Operation Medicine Cabinet is a national movement to keep all types of pharmaceuticals and medicines out of communities’ local water supply and drinking water, because they aren’t all regulated within federal or state drinking water standards. Flushed medicines also harm many wildlife species up and down the food chain — with many examples of some fish changed from male to female, and dead birds testing positive for opioids.
Everyone is encouraged to never flush any medicines down a drain or toilet — whether it’s antibiotics, painkillers, mood stabilizers, anti-convulsants, any male/female hormone material or stimulants or even cough syrup liquids. Pharmaceuticals are hazardous waste in the waterways and public drinking water. That includes for those on private water wells. Nearly 40 pounds of medicines were collected at the inaugural event in March held at two locations. The Walton County School District, Walton County Sheriff’s Office and many others made the event possible.
Memberships are $30 individual, $50 family, and $100 corporate. For more info, and a list of corporate partners, visit safewaterforwalton.org.
The Seaside Style® donates $25,000 to Food For Thought
A community partner with Food For Thought, an outreach program which works to fight child hunger, The Seaside Style® recently made a major donation to the charity.
Seaside’s signature retail company’s $25,000 donation will be used at Food For Thought’s new distribution center in DeFuniak Springs. The money goes toward the installation of air-condition and electrical work in the warehouse. Other contributors were Ryan Harp Construction, Tammy and Jim Pierce, Joey Katz and the Walton County Sheriff’s Department.
“We are ordering more of each individual food item than any local grocery store,” says Tiffanie Nelson, founder and executive director of Food For Thought Outreach. “This new facility will allow us to continue to grow, continue to feed more children and families, and work toward breaking the cycle of food insecurity in our communities. Without it, we simply cannot sustain any more growth and we never want to turn away a child in need. That’s why continue community support is so crucial.”
The distribution center is being renovated and will be the third location for Food For Thought, adding to the locations in Santa Rosa Beach and Destin, when it opens for services in December 2018.
“Running a business in South Walton, where everything is almost perfect, makes it is easy to forget that there is so much need in our community,” says Erica Gibson-Pierce, general manager of Seaside Associated Stores. “The health and well-being of every child is important for our future. Our company, The Seaside Style, supports this outreach in many different aspects to make a difference in the community.”
The Food For Thought program serves more than one million food items to 31 schools in Walton and Okaloosa counties, providing backpacks filled with food for 3,000 students each week. For more information, such as donation locations, pantry items needed and opportunities to volunteer, visit fftfl.org.