Lithia resident Melissa Canfield, co-owner of HiTech Automotive, is running for Honorary Mayor of Brandon.

One of Brandon’s most well-loved traditions is kicking off next month. The annual Honorary Mayor’s Race, which is made up of fundraising opportunities for local charities, will take place throughout June with only one candidate, Melissa Canfield, co-owner of HiTech Automotive.

Canfield, who has lived in Lithia since 2001, will be raising funds for Camp Rotary, an outdoor camp offering special needs children a traditional summer camp experience, and Raining Cats and Dogs Animal Shelter, which cares for local pets that are sick or have been abandoned in order to rehabilitate and rehome them to loving families in our area.

“I am super excited to work hard for these two amazing charities this year,” said Canfield. “Two amazing organizations that I am proud to be associated with. Kids and pets, two things we all love. I especially appreciate the fact that each organization has a specific need which we are working to fulfil.”

Canfield’s goal is to help Camp Rotary repair boards and railings along its docks.

“This is necessary so children can safely access the water area, and that is something we can help with directly,” she said.

The funds she hopes to raise for Raining Cats and Dogs Animal Shelter will go to help increase the shelter unit size by 45 animals by utilizing a large, covered, indoor/outdoor area for the smaller dogs, thereby allowing it the opportunity to help more dogs and, while in its care, give the dogs the ability to be both outside and inside.

In order to raise the funds, Canfield has organized a number of events that will take place throughout June.

“We have something for everyone,” she said. “We are going to have a grand kick-off on June 1 at JF Kicks at 6 p.m. where there will be raffles and door prices, and they are donating back 10 percent of all the proceeds from that night.”

Her team is also planning a designer bag bingo with The George Shea Team as the signature sponsor for the event.

“There will also be a bowling tournament, bunco night, movie night and I have even heard of a potential Elvis sighting,” said Canfield, who is planning to end the month with a strictly online bidding auction from Wednesday, June 30 to Friday, July 2.

To learn more, search for ‘Melissa4BrandonMayor’ on Facebook or visit www.valricofishhawk.org.

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Kate Quesada is the Multimedia Manager for the Osprey Observer Newspapers. She has been working for the paper in various positions since 2005 when she graduated with her Masters degree in mass communications. She lives in Valrico with her husband Mike and son Dylan.