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Money from golf tournament to help non-profit continue its mission of providing grief counseling for children and families 

FORT MYERS, Fla. (May 2, 2023) – Scott Fischer Charites continues to spread joy to charities across Southwest Florida with its most recent donation of funds raised at the 26th Annual Paul Sands Memorial Slaw Dog Invitational. Fischer, along with event co-host Lisa Sands-Farrell presented a check for $19,000 to Valerie’s House founder Angela Melvin from money raised at the golf tournament.

What started on a whim as close friends Paul Sands and Scott Fischer reflected on the upcoming holidays after a round of golf, has grown into one of the most successful and highly anticipated annual charity tournaments in Southwest Florida history. The Slaw Dog has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support local youth causes.

“Paul and I wanted to bring our friends and business associates together to celebrate the holidays and raise money for kids. One of the reasons the Slaw Dog is so special is how the business community truly comes together to pitch in by supporting and sponsoring the event, knowing the money goes to helping local kids in need,” said Scott Fischer, co-host of the event and owner of Scott Fischer Enterprises. “The Slaw Dog has grown above and beyond anything Paul and I imagined when we started it 26 years ago. The generosity of the Southwest Florida business community amazes me more and more each year.” 

When Sands passed away in 2010, the Slaw Dog was renamed in his honor, and ex-wife and dear friend Lisa Farrell-Sands, Broker and VP of VIP Realty Group, took over as co-host that December. Paul Sands was a rainmaker who had an award-winning career in commercial real estate, served on the boards of several prestigious local businesses and nonprofits. He served the community, believing it was important to give back. His passing was a huge loss to Fischer, Farrell-Sands, and the community. 

“Paul Sands was a very giving guy, and nothing was dearer to him than family, friends and his beloved slaw dogs,” said Fischer. To this day, dinner at the end of the Slaw Dog tournament remains a Carolina dog, grilled and topped with hearty beef chili (no beans!), creamy coleslaw, and chopped onions. “Everybody loves it!” said Fischer.

The tournament is traditionally held in December at Cypress Lake Country Club where Fischer became a member early on and convinced Paul to join. The Slaw Dog sells out each year. In fact, as some golfers have aged out over the years, their adult children quickly claim the coveted spot to play in the Slaw Dog Invitational. The first Slaw Dog raised $5,000, and in 2021 it raised a record $106,000 in celebration of its 25th event anniversary. David and Charlyn Veracka, representing the entire Rockstar Harley-Davidson family, have upped the game by donating $50,000 for three consecutive years.

The vision of Valerie’s House is that no child will grieve alone. Groups meet twice a month in the evening where they come together to share and mentor each other through their grief. Dinner is provided for everyone to eat together before breaking into their age groups for group discussion and activity. Grief is very personal and can be isolating but being together with others who have also suffered a loss can help tremendously.

These funds will help provide volunteer training and resources for families as well as materials for activities and group night dinners.

“At Valerie’s House we provide a safe place for children to share, grieve, and grow, and that includes programs for the parents or caregivers in the family too,” said Angela Melvin, founder of Valerie’s House. “Children can enter our program one day, one year, or even ten years after their loss. There is no set time when the child comes in, and they can attend for as long as they want. And thanks to the generosity of the community and donations like this our services are free of charge.”

For more information about the Annual Paul Sands Memorial Slaw Dog Invitational or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Lisa Farrell-Sands at [email protected] or visit the Slaw Dog Invitational on Facebook.

Scott Fischer Charities

Scott Fischer Charities is a 501(c)(3) organization founded by Scott Fischer in 2007 out of his passion for his community. The organization has raised and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to support causes and organizations such as Blessings in a Backpack of Southwest Florida, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Any Soldier, REIS Scholarship Fund, Junior Achievement, United Way, PACE Center for Girls, as well as countless other groups supporting veterans, children and the disabled. For more information, visit

About Valerie’s House

Founded in 2015 by Angela Melvin, Valerie’s House remains the only grief support program in Southwest Florida focused solely on helping children grieve. Valerie’s House provides a safe, comfortable place for children to bond and heal together following the death of an immediate family member. With programs and venues in Fort Myers, Naples, Charlotte County and Pensacola, Valerie’s House helps children and families throughout Lee County, Naples, Punta Gorda and Pensacola. Valerie’s House is a United Way partner agency supported through generous donations from the community. To learn more, visit or email [email protected].

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