People were bumping into each other Tuesday, November 18, just trying to keep up as the pre-holiday festivities kicked into gear. Christine McKenny was toasting and being toasted at Cole Haan in Highland Park Village for the 4th Gingerbread Stroll benefiting Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. Only problemo was finding a parking place. Bicycles just may be the solution to getting about nowadays. Other happenings going on during the day included:
Doing The Most Good Luncheon
While in recent years The Salvation Army’s annual “Doing the Most Good Luncheon” has been a star-studded musical extravaganza—think mini-concerts by Wynonna and Amy Grant—the 2014 event held Nov. 18 at the Hilton Anatole was more of a straight-up pep rally for the cause. “It’s supposed to be more interactive this year,” an SA spokesman explained. That translated into video presentations, plus a succession of talks by the nonprofit’s chief cheerleaders.
After guests including Bobby Lyle, Lisa Troutt, Gerald Turner and Barbara Daseke filed into the packed ballroom, SA Lieutenant Jennifer Jones welcomed everyone and invited them to enjoy their lunch (parsnip leek soup, beef tenderloin, dark chocolate pie). As they did so, longtime booster Gene Jones of the Gene and Jerry Jones Family Foundation told them about the group’s efficiency in North Texas—80 cents of every dollar raised stays in the local area, she said—before giving way to Stan Richards, the 2014 luncheon chair.
The much-acclaimed Dallas advertising guru told how important SA services (1.09M meals dished out locally last year) are to people like “Jason,” a former drug addict who strolled out onstage. “Don’t stop giving,” Jason exhorted the crowd. “Please don’t!” With that a gospel choir sang “Amazing Grace,” then began humming softly while Richards described more of the SA’s good works (60 million meals served last year nationwide). Next, poet, speaker, and journalist Amena Brown took the mic to tell what a privilege it is to serve people with the SA, the choir softly punctuating her talk as well.
After Richards came back on to flog the nonprofit’s Angel Tree Christmas program, still more speakers took the stage, including SA local leaders Majors Michele and Ward Matthews; advisory board chair Richard Martin; and Charlotte Jones Anderson, who’s chair of the Salvation Army’s 125th annual celebration. Martin acknowledged the luncheon underwriting chair, Debbie Oates, before Anderson capped the luncheon with a rousing plea to continue supporting the organization.
“The number of homeless children is at an all-time high,” Anderson said. “How can we help? By helping the Salvation Army.” She closed by urging the guests to fill out the giving cards inside their programs—“hopefully with lots of little zeros behind it.”
Hope Cottage Ugly Christmas Sweaters
Here’s a report from the field about one of the first ugly Christmas Sweaters:
“The Hope Cottage Leadership Council kicked off the holiday season with their Ugly Christmas Sweater Party aka #BeThereBeUgly. Held at HG Sply Co, these young professionals enjoyed a fabulous rooftop view while munching on ginger garlic hummus and Conchinita nachos. Konrad John Kaltenbach III won the grand prize for the ugliest sweater with his woven Christmas vest. Children in the Hope Cottage Foster to Adopt program will have a very merry holiday this year thanks to the plethora of toys and books donated by event attendees.
“The Hope Cottage Leadership Council is a team of energized, servant leaders, ages 21-40, furthering Hope Cottage’s mission through networking socials, volunteer opportunities, and fundraising events.”
Heroes For Children’s Heroes
Over at Tiffany’s Heroes for Children founders Larissa Linton and Jenny Scott were being honored for starting the organization that helps “alleviate families’ worries, giving them comfort and a brief respite from the everyday challenges of cancer-fighting and caregiving.” The “thank you” event was the brainchild of longtime Heroes for Children stalwart Kim Bannister and the Tiffany & Co. at NorthPark folks.
It was an especially poignant event for the two moms who lost their adorable daughters (Larissa’s Taylor Brewton and Jenny’s Allie Scott) to cancer. For Larissa, it was that time of year that Taylor died at the age of four on November 26, 2001. Equally painful was Allie’s death on September 13, 10 years ago.
It was their daughters who inspired the twosome to create Heroes for Children 10 years ago. Since that time this moms’ project has provided 4,200 families with more than $4M to assist in such things as mortgage payments and travel expenses to and from the hospitals.
It was this commitment and mothers’ love that was saluted by Cindy Stager, Cara French, Nancy Gopez, Kristen Johnston Sanger, Cameron Smith, Alicia Wood and 2015 Handbags and Heroes Co-Chairs Skye Brewer and Jennifer Dix.
To remember the evening, Larissa and Jenny were presented with etched Tiffany-glass platters.
* Photo credit: Kaltenbach Photography ** Photo credit: Holt Haynsworth