'National Flip Flop Day' equals free smoothie at Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Tropical Smoothie Cafe® will give customers free “Sunshine Smoothies” from 2 to 7 p.m. on June 15 as part of its effort to raise $1 million for Camp Sunshine. Photo: Tropical Smoothie Cafe.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe® will give customers free “Sunshine Smoothies” from 2 to 7 p.m. on June 15 as part of its effort to raise $1 million for Camp Sunshine – a retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families in Casco, Maine.

During its annual National Flip Flop Day event, customers who wear flip flops to any of the 13 Tropical Smoothie Cafe locations in Mobile and Pensacola will receive a free Sunshine Smoothie – a mix of mangos, bananas, oranges and pineapple. In exchange, Tropical Smoothie Cafe is encouraging customers to donate to Camp Sunshine -- a cost-free, year-round retreat where families can reconnect, reenergize and restore hope for what lies ahead.

Since launching National Flip Flop Day in 2007, Tropical Smoothie Cafe has donated $5.3 million to Camp Sunshine – enough for more than 2,100 families to attend for free. This year, Tropical Smoothie Cafe is pushing to raise $1 million, which would help send families to Camp and assist with travel expenses.

“These families have had to endure some of life’s most challenging circumstances, and we’ve seen how much Camp Sunshine means to them,” said Mike Rotondo, chief executive officer, Tropical Smoothie Cafe. “Some days, you have to create your own sunshine, and that’s the beauty of Camp Sunshine, it creates sunshine for these families.”

Located on Sebago Lake in Casco, Maine, Camp Sunshine is designed for families with children who have been diagnosed with cancer, hematologic conditions, renal disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, and who have undergone solid organ transplantation. Camp Sunshine offers on-site medical and psychosocial support, as well as bereavement sessions for families who have experienced the death of a child from a supported illness.

“Our mission is to provide respite and support to each family member - patients, siblings, and parents,” said Camp Sunshine’s Executive Director, Michael Katz. “It’s a unique chance for them to relax, laugh and enjoy time as a family while being amongst others who understand what their family is going through, all while being surrounded by the beauty of Maine.”

Since 1984, Camp Sunshine has served more than 50,000 people from all 50 states and 27 countries. Carly Allphin, a 15-year-old with cancer, visited last summer, and she quickly made friends. They paddled on canoe rides where they took turns flipping each other, they spent hours playing Uno and other card games, and they formed lifelong friendships. “It was so nice,” Carly says, “to leave cancer behind for a week.”

Those who do donate will receive a paper sunshine they can customize and display in the cafe. Customers may also donate by purchasing a Sunshine Key Fob for $5, all of which goes to Camp Sunshine. The fob gives customers a 5 percent discount on all Tropical Smoothie Cafe purchases at participating locations for the rest of 2018.

“We’re grateful that our customers always help us give back,” Rotondo said. “And, we hope they will help us make a difference again this year.”

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