VIP Realty Group on Fort Myers Beach, along with VIP offices in Sanibel, Fort Myers and Naples, has combined resources to assemble a tasty book of recipes to serve as a fundraiser for the hungry.
Titled "Recipes from Paradise," the VIP cookbook holds more than 400 recipes on 257 pages. The cost is $20 per book. Recipes were collected from Realty employees, family and friends.
"A couple of our agents in the Sanibel office thought it would be a great idea to have all the offices of VIP get together to create a cookbook of our favorite recipes," said the Beach's VIP Realty Group Managing Partner Karen Swanbeck. "We reached out to our clients as well."
VIP Realty Group employees on Fort Myers Beach show the cookbooks for sale at their office at 2450 Estero Blvd. But hurry! They are popular and selling fast.
Profits from the recipe book are going to three different needy groups. While the Beach office and Fort Myers office chose Harry Chapin Food Bank as the benefactor, Sanibel has selected F.I.S.H., an island nonprofit human services organization which houses a food pantry in partnership with Harry Chapin Food Bank, and Naples is sending its proceeds to The Shelter for Abused Women and Children. The first order was received in early December 2013.
"The whole idea was to raise money for a food-related charity as a way to give back to the community," said Swanbeck. "It was a fun project with a purpose."
The concept of the VIP cookbook was so well received that more than 1,000 books were sold in pre-order sales before the books were even published. That response prompted a second order of 500 recipe books of which the Beach office has approximately only 20 left for sale.
"It's certainly something we would consider," Swanbeck said when pressed about placing yet another order once the remaining books are sold. "If there's more interest, all the offices would combine to make the decision to do it or not. But, it's been very well received and a great project."
Sales Associate Alice Dickson was the coordinator of the project for the Fort Myers Beach office.
"It is rewarding to know that once you have completed the cookbook, you have preserved several generations of family and friends memories and recipes and made them permanent," she said.
Dickson helped gather recipes from the Beach office's end and aided in the recipe book proof reading.
"Family, food and recipes go hand and hand and create memories," she said. "This was a total effort of love to put all of this together. Being able to help people in need is very important."
Swanbeck contributed a Vidalia Onion Dip and a Crab Dip to the book. Dickson added a Quinoa Tabbouleh salad dish as well as a Perfect Roast and Garlic dish and a White Bean and Sausage Stew.
Other contributions from Beach VIP members and friends include a Banana Split Tort, a Pistachio Tort, High Point Pasta, Baked Hash Browns, Fort Myers Beach-style BBQ Shrimp, Grilled Whole Red Snapper and Jumbo Shells Stuffed With Chicken and Crab.
"There's a lot of recipes designed for Southwest Florida and a lot of quick and easy preparation items in the book as well," Swanbeck said.
Charity is an important part of the business aspect for VIP Realty Group.
"VIP contributes to charitable causes all the time," Swanbeck said. "It's a very important part of our mission to give back to the community."
If you wish to view or purchase "Recipes From Paradise," drop by the Beach office at 2450 Estero Blvd. or call 425-6431 (ext. 446) to get more information.