Neighbors of Suntree held high tea for charity


Merilee Riopelle, left, president of the Neighbors of Suntree, stands with representatives of the AVET Project.

photo by Wendy Scheuring

On a lovely April afternoon, the Neighbors of Suntree (NOS) held its High Tea and purse raffle at the Suntree Country Club. 

Donned in festive hats, 115 members feasted on cucumber sandwiches, chicken wraps, scones, sweet frosted cakes, fruit and hot and sweet tea. Twenty-nine chic and unique purses were raffled for next year’s fundraiser recipients. Other raffles were held, including a 50/50 raffle and $50 gifts. A $100 gift card to Djon’s was also secretly tucked away in one of the purses. 

This past year, the nonprofit organization raised a significant amount of funds, awarding a generous $2,500 each to the following charities: AVET Project, Harmony Farms, Aging Matters, Florida Wildlife Hospital and Sanctuary, and Nana’s House. 

AVET Project provides free programs for veterans, active duty military and their families. Harmony Farms, in its 25th year, provides equine therapy for the disabled and veterans. Chic and unique purses were raffled off at the Neighbors of Suntree high tea. | PHOTO BY WENDY SCHEURINGAging Matters is a not-for-profit that helps people age 60 and older achieve happy and healthy lives. Florida Wildlife Hospital and Sanctuary assists injured and sick native Florida wildlife and releases them back into the wild. Nana’s House provides homes for abused, neglected and abandoned children.

Representatives from the Women’s Center received purses and a donation of $250. The Women’s Center helps women embrace healthy and self-sufficient lives.

The organization was created in 1984 when a handful of Suntree neighbors wanted to establish a way to meet one another and learn more about their community. Since then, the group has expanded its membership to 280 and has evolved into a social organization with members throughout the Space Coast focused on raising money for local charities.  

Events include a welcome meeting, a fashion show and a spring tea. Through the years, NOS has raised $107,000 for a variety of charities. In September, the board of directors will decide which charities to sponsor for the following year.

There are also social events, including a book club, a breakfast club, bridge, bunco, cocktail mixers, coffee and conversation, and mahjong. 

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