Sixty guests arrived at Jim and Tammy Pierce’s Sandestin home recently to enjoy a rare experience. The Pierces hosted a star-studded celebrity wine dinner for charity featuring legendary Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman and American celebrity chef, restaurateur and author, Emeril Lagasse.

Attending couples raised their paddles high to bid on this dinner this past spring at the 13th Annual Chi Chi Miguel Throwdown, which raised over $1 million to benefit eight Gulf Coast charities. The Freeman/Lagasse dinner alone raised an impressive $100,000 that directly benefited the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center. The Chi Chi Miguel Throwdown was founded by Mike and Val Thompson and is now orchestrated by the Emeril Lagasse Foundation every year.

“It was our pleasure to host this memorable dinner with our community being able to take part,” said hostess, Tammy Pierce, also the immediate past board president of ECCAC. “But more importantly, more impacted children can benefit from ECCAC because of the great support of events such as Chi Chi.”

ECCAC’s mission is to prevent child abuse and neglect, protect children in Okaloosa and Walton counties and restore the lives and futures of these impacted children. Their child-friendly centers house a multidisciplinary team of child protection personnel, prosecutors, law enforcement, Florida Department of Children and Families, therapists, ECCAC staff and volunteers.

The 501-C-3 non-profit organization has provided services at no cost to more than 12,000 children in the past 18 years.

For further information, visit www.eccac.org. If abuse is suspected, call the anonymous Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE.