Patricia Heaton left Debra Barone on the small screen and brought her mission to “help vulnerable people around the world” for Buckner International‘s Hope for Children dinner on Tuesday, May 7. In addition to posing with VIP types, she sat down withe WFAA’s Cynthia Izaguirre to discuss “religion, family and service.” Here’s a report from the field:
Emmy Award-winning actress Patricia Heaton, best known for her role as Debra Barone on the series “Everybody Loves Raymond,” talked about the importance of faith, family and service to those in need during the Buckner International Hope for Children benefit on Tuesday, May 7, in Dallas.
Nearly 400 DFW residents were in attendance like Molly Dorset, Candice Burgess, Annie Fernandez, Cassie Bohannon, Kate Bryant, Keana Meyer, Haley and Ramsey March, Paul Gittemeier and Leigh Johnson to hear Heaton speak, as well as to enjoy a appetizers and a three-course dinner at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel.
VIP attendees like Ramsey and Haley March, Luke and Kelsey Mildren, Matt and Meg Mildren, Blair and Cristy McCullough, John and Sherla Tovar, Bill and Alana Taylor, Lisa Sullians and Stephen Woodroof, Ryan and Carrie Smith, Jim and Jennifer Knox and many more were also treated to a private reception with Heaton, where they were able to get their photos taken with the acclaimed actress.
Never shy about proclaiming her Christian faith, Heaton took the ballroom stage following dinner and shared her thoughts on religion, family and service. The actress also discussed how she uses her influence to help vulnerable people around the world by highlighting the work of nonprofits during a question-and-answer interview format with WFAA Channel 8 news anchor Cynthia Izaguirre.
“In order to sustain a commitment to an organization, it helps if you can be hands-on and see results in real time,” Heaton said. “I always recommend that if someone is looking to share their gifts with a charitable organization to start in your own community…There’s no shortage of organizations that could use great volunteers, and it’s a great way to meet people and feel really connected to the place you live.”
When Izaguirre asked Heaton why she chose to work with Buckner, the actress replied, “I’m all about any organization that has longevity, accountability and transparency and is effective, and so that’s why I’m here with Buckner International. I’ve been so impressed by what I’ve learned about Buckner and think it’s a great organization.”
Speakers during the evening included Buckner International President and CEO Albert Reyes and Buckner International Chief Development Officer Arnie Adkison.
During his keynote address, Dr. Reyes spoke on the importance of volunteers and friends of Buckner who are helping vulnerable children in foster care.
“There are 443,000 children in the United States living in foster care,” Reyes said. “Where will they go? Who will be there for them? We must ask ourselves that question because the answer has eternal consequences for boys and girls.
“I want to say thank you to each of you here tonight. Thank you for being a blessing to children and shining hope into their lives. You are changing the world one child at a time. Because of you, children know they are welcomed by Jesus.”
Heaton also spoke during a luncheon prior to the Hope for Children benefit, honoring foster mothers for their service during National Foster Care Month and in light of Mother’s Day.
“Earlier today I got to join Buckner International and have lunch with a group of foster mothers they serve. It was pretty moving just to be in the room knowing that each one of the women there had fostered and sometimes adopted children. Knowing how difficult that is was humbling to be a part of and hear some of the stories and see the dedication in what can be trying and difficult circumstances. It was really moving,” stated Heaton.
In 2018, Buckner International’s Dallas fundraiser featured President George W. Bush and his daughter, Jenna Bush Hager. Heaton proved equally adept at drawing laughter from the crowd, as well as touching their hearts and reminding them of the great need to serve one another.
“Patricia Heaton has long used her platform as an acclaimed actress to help inspire change in the world through advocacy and philanthropy,” Reyes said. “We hope her words on the importance of family and service to others will likewise inspire those in our community to become involved with Buckner, whether it be through volunteering, annual gifts or spreading our message of hope and ministry.”
* Photo provided by Buckner International