Community spirit shines in Navarre

Navarre was bustling with activity last weekend – car buffs showed off their rides at the Navarre Beach Car, Truck & Bike Show at the high school, audience members worshipped during Joyfest at Navarre Park, and foodies competed at the chili cook-off at Juana’s Pagoda. And that’s only a sampling of events in our area.

But more importantly, two of the events served as fundraisers for local nonprofit organizations.

The 2014 Run for the Reef, which took place Saturday morning on Gulf Boulevard, had a record-breaking attendance with 333 runners participating in a 10K run, a 5K run and the 5K walk. The sixth annual event was a benefit for the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary.

The 21st annual Charity Chili Cook-Off, hosted by Juana’s Pagodas, featured plenty of categories to choose from, including Carnivore Amore and Double Burner. The 75 taste testers had their work cut out for them. The event raised more than $3,000 for Caring and Sharing of South Santa Rosa County, which helps those in need during the holiday season.

Both events welcomed all ages and the chili cook-off proved to be a family affair when Pierce Crosby and his three kids took home the People’s Choice Award.

We’re lucky to live in a vibrant community that recognizes the importance of helping others. In addition to the social benefits of volunteering, getting involved can also offers health benefits, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency whose core programs include Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and the Social Innovation Fund.

According to a CNCS report, there’s a “strong relationship” between volunteering and health.

“Those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer,” the report states.

So the next time you see an event that peaks your interest, give it a shot. You’ll be helping others while helping yourself.

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