Northwest Arkansas companies sip and savor to support ‘strength of our youth’

by Nancy Peevy ([email protected]) 840 views 

Guests sampled a variety of food, beer, wine and cocktails at the second annual Sip and Savor event benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of Benton County (BGCBC) on Thursday (Oct. 6).

The purpose of the event, held at the Four Points by Sheraton Bentonville, was to thank sponsors and to raise money to renovate a newly donated building into a teen center for the Rogers club, Jonetta Sullivan, BGCBC marketing and events manager, said.

Karen Stuckey, BGCBC board chair and Walmart senior vice president, spoke at the VIP reception before the event and asked guests to remember that the teen years are when youth either become productive young adults or “go the other way we don’t want them to go.”

Stuckey thanked those in attendance and asked them to continue to support the BGCBC.

“Everything you do is for the kids and we do everything we can for the kids because this is a growing community and we know that the strength of our youth is really going to make the difference in the strength of our community for the future, particularly as the community grows,” Stuckey said.

Honorary co-chairs were Kerry Robinson, Walmart senior vice president, bakery/deli services and John Furner, Sam’s Club executive vice president merchandising.
Honorary co-chairs were Kerry Robinson, Walmart senior vice president, bakery/deli services and John Furner, Sam’s Club executive vice president merchandising.

General Mills was the presenting sponsor of the evening. Other sponsors included Hershey’s, Mobil 1, Mondelez, Unilever, Walmart, Johnson & Johnson, KraftHeinz, Intradeco, Coca Cola, Nestle and Signature Bank.

Honorary chairperson, John Furner, executive vice president merchandising, Sam’s Club, told guests that he played soccer and was on the swim team at the Boys and Girls Club in Fort Smith as a child and he commended the work the BGCBC does. Honorary co-chairperson, Kerry Robinson, senior vice president, bakery/deli services, Walmart, also spoke and encouraged attendees to support the BGCBC.

The BGCBC serves 3,792 youth each year through a variety of academic, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles programs. Its mission is to “enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.”

Benton County Boys and Girls Club CEO Jason Barta and Karen Stuckey, BGCBC board chair and Walmart senior vice president
Benton County Boys and Girls Club CEO Jason Barta and Karen Stuckey, BGCBC board chair and Walmart senior vice president

Sullivan said it is important for the public to understand how much the BCBGC depends on private donations and corporate sponsorships to function.

“We support (almost) 3,800 youth through our club sites … and it costs about $1,000 to provide programming for one child per year,” Sullivan said. “I think there’s a big misconception that the Boys and Girls Club of America provides finances for us. They do not. It is solely through our community. 100 percent of donations goes back to the club.”

For a $50 ticket per person or $90 ticket per couple, guests sampled dishes from area restaurants such as Blu Fresh Fish Marketplace, Bonefish Grill, Butcher & Pint, Joe’s Italian Grill, Levi’s Gastrolounge, MJ Pizzeria, Newk’s Eatery, The Social Taco and Williams’ Soul Food Express. Bentonville Brewing, E&J Gallo Winery, New Province, Ozark Beer Company and Signature Bank provided beverages throughout the evening.

Live auction items included a private tour and lunch at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Patron passes for the 2017 Bentonville Film Festival, tickets to a Naturals baseball game, and a seafood boil for 12 from Blu Fresh Fish Marketplace. Guests could also purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win 10 gift certificates worth $100 to area restaurants.

The General Mills leadership team (back row, left to right) Mike Fandrich, Steve Mayle, Paul Dorey, David Wurm, (front row, left to right) Mary Zettle and Josh Yates. General Mills was the presenting sponsor of Sip and Savor.
The General Mills leadership team (back row, left to right) Mike Fandrich, Steve Mayle, Paul Dorey, David Wurm, (front row, left to right) Mary Zettle and Josh Yates. General Mills was the presenting sponsor of Sip and Savor.