The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce recognized one organization and two individuals with the 2013 Community Excellence Award. This award is given annually to an individual or organization that has demonstrated a strong commitment to making Charlotte a great place to live and work.

Recipients of this year’s award include: the Tide Me Over Program, Fay Binowski, owner of Fay’s Evelyn Bay Coffee Shop and Dr. Dennis Craft, owner of Craft Chiropractic Creating Wellness Center. The winners were presented with their awards during the annual Charlotte Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner on Thursday, Jan. 23.

Tide Me Over

The Tide Me Over program is a ministry offered through First Baptist Church in Charlotte, the program attempts to address the needs of hunger in children in the Charlotte Upper Elementary School (CUE) by providing a bag of food each week to the students to help tide them over throughout the weekend.

In 2010-2011, 52 percent of students in fourth or fifth grade at the CUE qualified for the free or reduced lunch program. CUE principal, Kim Caudell welcomed the Tide Me Over Program because she knew these children were not able to get enough food at home over the weekend.

Ron Munson and Mona Ellard were instrumental in getting the Tide Me Over Program established through First Baptist Church and up and running at the CUE. The program provided 2,231 bags of food in its first year of operation, 2012-2013. The bags represented an average cost of $4.68 per and reached an average of 72 students a week. In 2013-2014, the number of students eligible for the free and reduced lunch program grew by 2 percent. The program serves 103 children per week at an average cost of $5 per bag.

Fay Binkowski

Charlotte Chamber of Commerce board member, Wanda Drozdak nominated the owner of Fay’s Evelyn Bay Coffee because she has provided a business that has become a “go to spot” for people in the community.

“Fay’s in the community meeting place,” Drozdak said. “Everybody meets down there for coffee daily and we do our business meetings and transactions at her shop.”

In addition to running a successful Charlotte business, Fay has also volunteered her time to a number of causes in the community. Drozdak said Fay is always available to offer solid business advice or to be a listening ear to other business owners in the community.

“She is always the first person we see at every Charlotte event,” Drozdak said.

Dennis Craft

Craft has been a business owner in Charlotte since opening his office in 1991. In addition to being dedicated to bringing quality treatment to all of his patients, he has dedicated much of his time to helping several local causes, most notably the Eaton Area Senior Center and the Charlotte Public Schools Education Foundation. He has served for a number of years as the chiropractor to the cowboys during the Charlotte Frontier Days rodeo

“Dr. Craft could be described as being very passionate about everything he does,” said Jeana Rohrs, vice president of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, who presented Craft with the award. “He is an employer who feels very responsible for the families he employs and the success of his practice could be considered an example of hard work, perseverance and dedication to the community. His dedication to our community youth has been demonstrated through his hosting of the Kids American Day.”