Local Restaurant Hosts Autism Awareness Dinner - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Local Restuarant Hosts Autism Awareness Dinner

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For sixteen years in a row, Angelo's Steak Pit has held a fundraiser for autism awareness.  

The owner of Angelo's and founder of this annual event has a personal connection with autism which brought this whole thing about.

"My daughter, Camille, was diagnosed with autism 23 years ago and back then it was 1 in 10,000 and now it's 1 in 85," said George Butchikas, Angelo's Owner and Event Founder. "It's a growing epidemic and we are trying to get others families that have autistic children get the same therapy that helped my daughter."

"We were at a waffle shop and we said what can we do for the children in Bay County?," said Carolyn Butchikas, Co-Founder. "We said lets create an event at Angelo's, everyone knows Angelo's, so lets do the event there.. and it has just grown over the last 16 years."

Over the years, this event has raised more than $750,000, all for children in Bay County.

"We have now established an ECAP clinic, which is named after Camille, Florida State University has teamed up with us so they can help children that are autistic, they can get ABA therapy there," said George.

"It's just a blessing in our life to be able to help children the way that we were about to help our daughter Camille," said Carolyn.

Guests were able to eat all of the great food they could handle and participate in raffles, auctions, and more.

"Angelo's is well known in the city of Panama, so everybody that knows about Angelo's knows about the charity tonight and I think it's great that everybody came out to help," said Dawn Darsey, Volunteer.

"This year, our community has come together for us over and beyond the past 15 years," said Carolyn.

Angelo's actually closed their doors for the season, Saturday, but they were happy to invite guests in one more time for a good cause. Organizers expect they raised at least $50,000.   

If you missed the dinner and want the chance to donate to the cause, you can visit GABfoundationforautism.org.