MySweetCharity Opportunity: 2016 Meal For The Minds

According to Metrocare Services Chief Executive Officer Dr. John W. Burruss,

John W. Burruss*

John W. Burruss*

“Metrocare strives to erase the stigma of mental health challenges, provide services to those in need, and educate our community on how to help themselves or a loved one. This year, Metrocare will provide services to over 52,000 adults and children throughout Dallas County. 

“One of the ways that Metrocare educates the community on mental health challenges, is through our fundraising efforts and annual luncheon – ‘Meal for the Minds.’ Metrocare is excited to share that the ‘2016 Meal for the Minds’ luncheon event is being presented by Cohen Veterans Network.  In 2015, Cohen Veterans Network selected Metrocare to be part of its national network of high-quality mental health clinics, working to ensure that every veteran and their family members are able to obtain free and effective mental health care.

“Transitioning from military to civilian life is challenging for many veterans and their families. ‘Going from a war zone in service time to civilian life – these are very different things. Metrocare is committed to helping adults and children who are transitioning to life in North Texas after life in the military.’

“Through the generosity of Steven A. Cohen and the Cohen Veterans Network, we are able to serve veterans and their families at no cost. The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Metrocare opened in May 2016.

“As part of Metrocare’s partnership with Cohen Veterans Network, this year’s keynote speaker at Meal for the Minds is Medal of Honor Recipient and Former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ryan Pitts. In 2014, Ryan Pitts was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan in 2008. Pitts’ courage, steadfast commitment to his defense unit, and ability to fight while seriously wounded prevented the enemy from capturing fallen American soldiers.

“The ‘2016 Meal for the Minds’ luncheon will be held Thursday, September 29, at the Hilton Anatole Hotel. The silent auction begins at 11:00 a.m. and the lunch program begins at 11:45 a.m.  Individual tickets for the luncheon are $150 each and sponsorship opportunities begin at $1,500. For tickets or sponsor information, please visit our website at For questions, contact Tameka Y. Cass at 214.743.1220 or email [email protected].

“We hope you can join us!”

* Photo provided by Metrocare

Meals For The Minds Luncheon Speaker Carrie Fisher Provided Food For Thought About Mental Health

Once again Thursdays proved to be the appetizer for the weekend ahead. While the Kappa Alpha Thetas were listening to Kira Plastinina, it was a luncheon across town that created talk for the evening fare and put WFAA’s Ron Corning’s emceeing talents to the test.

It was the Meals for the Mind lunch that created the tasty talk. In the Imperial Ballroom, formerly known as the Khymer Ballroom (and before that as the indoor tennis courts), the Metrocare Services fundraiser had all the looks of the normal luncheon with celebrity guest speaker and silent auction. But instead of taking place at Belo Mansion as in years past, it was moved to the Anatole due to the expected turnout. The reason for ramping up was keynote speaker Carrie Fisher, who was known as “Star Wars” Princess Leia, Paul Simon’s ex, the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, an accomplished author and for having bipolar disorder.

Still, the Meals For the Mind organizers stayed tried-and-true to their roots by having cakes on tables for the silent auction.

As guests perused the cake collection, Carrie was kept under wraps and word was passed — her contract forbade any photos, including cellphones, or recordings.

Carrie chose not to join the table of VIP’s and continued to stay out of sight until she was introduce by Ron. She was escorted on stage by her French bulldog, Gary, that she describes as her therapy dog. Unfortunately, upon arriving at the podium, the pooch decided to relieve itself unceremoniously and then barked his unhappiness at being there.

Carrie proceeded to speak for 40 minutes. One person described the presentation as “rambling” and talking to herself.

When Carrie then opened the venue to a Q&A session, she decided to step out of her shoes and venture out among the crowd. Ron, realizing that idea might not be the best use of Carrie, approached the podium for a mic to wander the audience himself for questions. Carrie’s comment? She called Ron a pervert. He, in turn said, “Carrie, it’s so nice to meet both of you.” As he did his “Phil Donahue” wandering through the audience, organizers suggested that Ron might want to wind things up. Announcing to guests and Carrie that this was the last questions, Carrie, instead of thanking him, again called him a “pervert.”

Luncheon organizers then passed the word that the post-lunch photo shoot of sponsors and Carrie would not occur. Carrie’s assistant asked Ron to meet with Carrie privately, at which time she apologized for calling him a “pervert” (twice).

One guest, who spoke for many in the audience, sympathized with the situation, saying, “If you didn’t realize the challenges of mental health and the need to help those suffering from it, then today was a true display of why Metrocare is so needed.”

Indeed, Carrie’s behavior only put a spotlight on the issues that Metrocare Services deals with 365 days a year.

Actress/Author Carrie Fisher To Discuss Her Struggle With Bipolar Disorder At Metrocare’s Meal For The Minds

Carrie Fisher*

Carrie Fisher*

She comes from Hollywood royalty and has created quite a name for herself. Why she even managed to be an intergalactic princess and at one point was married briefly to singer Paul Simon. The 5’1″ lady is none other than author and actress Carrie Fisher, who also happens to be the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and the late Eddie Fisher.

But her life has not been all red carpets and charming chit-chat. While some might have described her as a precocious kid and a character as a young adult, it wasn’t until full-fledged adulthood that she was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. Even then she didn’t realize how disruptive it could be. Just two years ago the condition caused her to go “completely off the rails” while on a Caribbean cruise causing headlines.

She’s been very candid about her struggles with living with the disorder and will bring that discussion to Meal for the Minds benefiting Metrocare at the Hilton Anatole on Thursday, September 24.

Meal For The Minds*

Meal For The Minds*

And, yes, organizers guarantee that the Edible Auction and Art Sale will be part of the day’s fundraising.

* Photo and graphic 
courtesy of 

September 18 Round Robin: Metrocare Luncheon And Distinguished Women And Flora Award Reveals

This time of year lunches and cocktail parties are keeping the valet parkers and kitchens moving at high speed. Here are just three that took place on September 18.

Meals For The Minds

Auction cake

Auction cake

Auction cake

Auction cake

Some things just aren’t fair. Take for instance the annual Meal for the Minds luncheon benefiting Metrocare at Belo Mansion. Along the walls of the dining room are tables and tables with the most delicious looking cakes this side of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Bakers throughout the area had put their ingredients, ovens and pastry talents in overdrive to provide a scrumptious edible auction.

Who wanted to eat their salad and entrée when such desserts were just a foot or so away? But this crowd is as responsible as adults could be, whether it comes to eating a healthy meal or championing the cause for mental illness and developmental disability within Dallas

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins had just arrived from a meeting with Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and the Dallas City Council to discuss the very issue of mental illness in Dallas. In addition to being a major health problem, it’s also a financial burden that is straining budgets.

Pete Earley

Pete Earley

But for many within the filled-to-capacity room, this topic was a personal one. They had first-hand knowledge of the emotional, physical and financial damage and long-term effects. One of those people was the featured speaker/author Pete Earley.

If you haven’t heard of Pete, he’s a former Washington Post reporter who evolved into a “full-time author with a commitment to expose the stories that entertain and surprise.” One of those books was “Crazy,” for which he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. While he had written about other non-fiction topics including the criminal justice system, he and his son Mike took on a tortuous and complex journey in dealing with Mike’s own mental health. “Crazy” dealt with two stories. The first belongs to Mike and the second is Pete’s discovery of how mental health is handled. While Pete was familiar with the red tape of bureaucracy, he was so taken back by the situation for “countless thousands who suffer confinement instead of cure, brutal conditions instead of treatment, in the ‘revolving doors’ between hospitals and jail.” Unfortunately, due to misunderstanding and/or lack of diagnosis, the mentally ill end up in jail instead of treatment centers.

Tamkea Cass and Charlene Howell

Tamkea Cass and Charlene Howell

As Charlene Howell summarized Pete’s talk, it was

“a chilling story of his efforts to get help for his 19-year-old son who became manic depressive. Authorities told him that until his son threatened someone or actually hurt someone or himself, then they could not do anything. With all his knowledge and connections as a former Washington Post reporter, he was helpless in the crisis until his son actually did commit a crime by breaking into an empty house in their neighborhood and taking a bubble bath.”

Unfortunately, Pete and Mike are not unique. Despite advancements in treating mental health issues, the number of those suffering due to lack of treatment and/or ignorance seems to be growing in overwhelming numbers. That is why for 45 years Metrocare’s services dealing with “developmental delays, depression, bipolar, autism, Asperger’s and many other conditions” have been a vital part of the solution.

Distinguished Women Announcement Party

It made sense that Wednesday’s announcement of Northwood University’s 2013 class of Distinguished Women took place at Dee Lincoln’s Dining Room & Bubble Bar. Dee, after all, was named a Distinguished Woman herself in 2008. But not only did Lincoln host the party; she also announced the name of one of this year’s eight new DWs: Mayor Mary Roche, of Indian Wells, Calif.

Mary AnnThompson-Frenk, Dr. Kevin Fegan, Patricia Chambers and Harriet Miers*

Mary AnnThompson-Frenk, Dr. Kevin Fegan, Patricia Chambers and Harriet Miers*

While Roche was among five 2013 DWs unable to attend the Sept. 18 gathering in person, three from North Texas did show up. They were: artist/philanthropist Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk, who was announced by former DW Yvonne Crum (class of 2001); businesswoman Patricia Chambers, announced by Leslie Crozier (DW class of ’06 and 2013 DW Committee Chair); and attorney and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, who was also announced, and nominated, by Crozier.

Rounding out the DW class of 2013: U.S. Rep. Kay Granger of Fort Worth (announced by Donna Arp Weitzman, DW class of ’03); foundation executive Margaret Peale Everett of Sherman, Conn. (announced by Lee Bailey, DW ’05); businesswoman Linda Orlans of Troy, Mich. (announced by D’Andra Simmons, DW ’11); and nonprofit executive Lorraine Schultz of Bloomfield Hills, Mich. (announced by Barbara Daseke, DW ’06).

Other highlights of the event were brief remarks by Dr. Kevin Fegan, president of Northwood University Texas (Northwood CEO Dr. Keith Pretty was away in China), and a “surprise announcement” by Donna Arp Weitzman. She told the crowd that Northwood’s Mary Frazier had phoned her to ask whether she and husband Herb Weitzman would give more money to the school for an endowed scholarship. “I caught Herb in an unsuspecting moment, and he said yes,” Donna joked. Then she added: “You can all do that. Just talk to Mary and Kevin. It makes you feel so darned good.”

All eight new DWs are expected to attend the 2013 black-tie Gala, which is scheduled for Oct. 26 at the Hilton Anatole Dallas.

Flora Award Patron Party

Dee Wyly

Dee Wyly

The word on the boulevard is that “hors d’oeuvres” at Dee Wyly’s estate translates into a mega meal, so don’t make plans for dinner. That’s because Dee is the hostess perfectionist and wants everyone to feast. Luckily, she has Chef Darren McGrady in-house for such occasions.

Darren McGrady

Darren McGrady

Jan Pickens

Jan Pickens

Want an example? How about the Flora Award patron party honoring Jan Pickens? There was a sumptuous buffet (smoked trout bruschetta, smoked salmon with creme cheese, asparagus with prosciutto and mozzarella, Scotch eggs, shrimp cocktail, espresso chili crusted pork, etc.) in the dining room. It was just perfect complete with magnificent floral arrangement.

Buffet table

Buffet table

On the other hand, when Dee checked the dessert table in the living room, she spotted something that didn’t seem quite right. A couple of the desserts were contained in small glass cylinders. . . think tall shot glasses. Looking around, she asked, “How are we supposed to eat this?” Quickly, a young staffer was dispatched to the kitchen and returned with teaspoons. Dee raised an all-knowing eyebrow and pointed out that the spoon was too big for the opening of the glass. Immediately, Darren and maître d Frank were on the scene with coffee spoons that fit just right!



But nary a guest would have guessed, as some settled in the atrium for dinner and others joined Dee in the study, where someone noted a charming leather wastebasket. Turns out its previous owner was King Edward III. Dee had purchased at an auction of the Duke’s property — “It was the only thing I could afford.”

* Photo provided by Northwood 

Share-A-Date: 2012 Meal For The Mind

Wednesday, September 19: If nothing else, you’ve got to love the title of Kim Stagliano‘s book, “All I Can Handle, I’m No Mother Teresa.” Her book deals with raising three. . . not one. . . but three daughters with autism. Just imagine what the words of wisdom that she’ll pass along at the Meal for the Minds” luncheon at the Belo Mansion!

In addition to Kim, there will be the yummy edible auction featuring Dallas’ top bakeries and an art sale by Art Focus XC, “an elite group of Dallas artists.”

Benefiting Metrocare, sponsors include

  • Gold sponsors: BlueCross BlueShield of Texas, Morgan & Weisbrod and Pierce and Julie Noble
  • Silver sponsors: Kamm & Associates and Vincent Lopez Serafino Jenevein P.C. and
  • Underwriters: FX Direct, Millet the Printer and Society Bakery

Meal For The Minds Serves Up Drew Dudley, Cakes And Art For The Mental Health Of Others

Drew Dudley is the kind of guy you’d think wouldn’t have a care in the world. He is a huge hockey

Drew Dudley

fan and used to play football. He lives in Toronto but travels around Canada and the U.S. as a motivational speaker focusing on leadership. Last Wednesday he was in Dallas at Belo Mansion as the featured speaker for the 4th Annual Meal for the Minds benefiting Metrocare, the nonprofit that cares for clients who struggle with special needs and mental health challenges.

But unlike his usual talks, Drew took the audience on a totally different journey. He told them about his living with bipolar disorder and how he plotted his own suicide. But the very bipolar disorder that tormented him also provided a way out of his planned suicide. His career as a motivational speaker on leadership “came out of his bipolar disorder” and speaking about it is what saved him.


In addition to Drew, guests bid on a selection of desserts from Kroger, Jackie Spratt Cakes, Frosted Art, Dallas Affairs


Cake Co., Ann Perry Catering, Yum-Yum Bakery, Linda Thompson and Society Bakery and dozens more.

Also helping to fill the Metrocare coffers was Art Focus XC, an art sale in the hallway of works by Dallas artists selling original artwork including paintings, greeting cards, books and more.

Martha Box and Mary Frances Burleson

Artist Martha Box was showing her colorful abstracts to Mary Frances Burleson. The two gals have known each other for ages. Martha still receives cards of pooches from Mary Frances that her late husband, Rufus, painted for special occasions like Easter and the 4th of July.

Photos by Glenn Hunter