Holiday brunch in trade for toys is gift of GAAB


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The Greek-American Association of Brevard will trade a Dec. 14 mimosa brunch for new, unwrapped toys and gift cards for children in or at risk of foster care served by Devereux.

A few years ago, Ioanna Hawkins invited a few friends to tea and asked them to bring toys for children living at Devereux residential school in Viera. 

The problem? She soon had more friends than house.

In its fourth year, the 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14 event is now a mimosa brunch at her CasaBella Clubhouse in Suntree, hosted by her charitable civic association, the Greek-American Association of Brevard (GAAB).

Like Hawkins, many of the cultural group’s members are also members at St. Katherine’s Greek Orthodox Church across Wickham Road, the site of popular food-centered festivals with authentic Greek dancing that also attract the public for community benefit.

“We can’t not have great food at an event, so you can expect to find delicious brunch versions of some of our popular dishes, like an amazing spinach and feta cheese quiche. Of course, baklava is just as delicious a dessert for lunch as it is for dinner, and we will have the popular Grecian Odyssey dancers perform that everyone loves to see,” Hawkins said.

“We tell everyone, brunch is on us, the toys are on you,” added Hawkins, a member of the Devereux Brevard Development Leadership Council.

According to Devereux development director Patty Hurst, the greatest need for toys this year is for adolescents and teens.

“People seem to love to get toys for babies, toddlers and young children,” Hurst said. “But there is a great need among youth, who are at a very vulnerable time in their lives, and it really helps them to know that people from the community care about them.”

New clothing and electronics are popular gifts, but the greatest need is for gift cards to clothing, toy, department and big box stores, Hurst added. In addition to children at the school, the gifts will be distributed to children in or at risk of placement in foster care, which Devereux coordinates.

This year, GAAB’s toy brunch is partnering with another cultural community-benefit powerhouse, the Brevard Indian Medical & Dental Association. BIMBA picked GAAB as co-sponsor for its medical conference last month to fulfill its chosen Greek theme, as homage to the culture’s contributions to Western medicine, including the Hippocratic Oath to first do no harm. So GAAB is returning the favor this month.

Will GAAB venture across the spice aisle and offer Indian dishes to please the palates of their ho-hosts?

“We’ll have a little bit of everything to please everyone, but we don’t want to try Indian food and possibly fail and get someone mad at us,” Hawkins said. “We’ll stick to what we know, and go enjoy their delicious food another day.”

The CasaBella clubhouse is at 6015 Anello Dr., off Wickham Road north of Pineda Causeway. The gate to the private community will be open for the event. For more information on GAAB or the toy brunch, go to gaab.us or call 321-622-3141.