Since docking in Fort Lauderdale in mid-September, the crew of M/Y Tail Lights have been swamped. Not only with the typical things that go into a yard period, but also to promote a Donation Drive for House of Hope, a nonprofit organization that’s been dedicated to helping people in recovery for 50 years. The crew-hosted event, which runs October 8–20, is headed by Sole Chef Thomas Day III of M/Y Tail Lights. They are looking for donations of food and beverages, bedding, toiletries, and men’s and women’s clothing. The drop-off location is at Culinary Convenience located at 2212 S. Andrews Ave. in Fort Lauderdale.
Thanks to being stuck in a Fort Lauderdale shipyard from September to October while undergoing “some big changes” and season transition cleaning, the idea was born to donate a lot of their extra products that they were looking to donate anyway.
“I have been in contact with the House of Hope located here in Lauderdale, which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to treatment and support of those dealing with substance abuse and mental illness. I myself am in recovery and just about to reach 32 months sober, so helping others in recovery means a lot to me. Everyone deals with their recovery on their own and it’s very hard,” says Chef Day.
“Being sober in the yachting industry is an obstacle within itself.” As Day explained, the crew lifestyle and its fun can make it very tough. “I’ve managed to find my balanced ground the best I can and with that being accomplished, I have wanted to pay it forward to those that haven’t yet. I also want this to be a way for other chefs and crew members that are in recovery or may be thinking about taking the step to sobriety to be a welcoming platform to bring everyone together and show that you are not alone in this industry.”
"I myself am in recovery and just about to reach 32 months sober, so helping others in recovery means a lot to me."
If plans go the way Chef Day hopes, he'd like to continue with fundraisers to run during each of their Florida/Bahamas/Caribbean seasons to benefit the locals. “This past Bahamas season we were completely booked with charters, so I didn’t have the time to do research and set up locations, etc.,” Day says. “Upon getting back to Florida it took about three weeks to coordinate everything.”
As the person heading it up, Chef Day says his idea is to organize something bigger with all vessels in the Fort Lauderdale area that would like to participate. This includes posting on all social media pages/groups, possibly having larger donations from businesses/sponsors, certain locations that can be drop locations for products, and then possibly ending with something at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
Although he originally posted donations from October 6–20, he will possibly extend it further, “especially if I can end with a final drop-off during the boat show,” he says. “My vessel will be leaving for the Caribbean around the 25th; however, I am trying to get my captain/owner to let me stay for at least a day of the show to complete the fundraiser.”