8th Interfaith Auxiliary Annual Luncheon Co-Chairs Sarah Claire Corrigan and Emily Hill decided to change things up a bit this year for the Interfaith Family Services fundraiser on Friday, April 28, at the Arboretum. Instead of flying in a noted celebrity to serve as the keynote speaker, they brought the mission of the organization home with Interfaith client Kennethia Price telling her journey of “blossoms and new beginnings.” It was so moving that the sold-out audience gave her a standing ovation. Here’s a report from the field:
Longtime friends, Sarah Claire Corrigan and Emily Hill, co-chaired the 8th Interfaith Auxiliary Annual Luncheon, a sold-out affair of 300 people on Friday, April 28. They dressed in spring fuchsia dresses that complemented the setting – the Dallas Arboretum. The event benefited Interfaith Family Services, whose mission is to empower families in crisis to break the cycle of poverty. The mostly female crowd, dressed in floral pattens, complemented the décor of the flower arrangements, the floral tablecloths and napkins. Fittingly, the theme was Blossoms and New Beginnings.
Corrigan and Hill tapped Peggy Sewell, her daughter, Jacquelin Sewell Atkinson, and daughter-in-law, Josie Sewell, to serve as honorary chairs.
Guests sipped wine at the reception and visited with each other outside Rosine Hall.
Stepping in for Meredith Land who had a work conflict, NBC 5’s Katy Blakey served as emcee and welcomed guests. Reverend Victoria Robb Powers with Royal Lane Baptist Church gave the invocation. Lunch consisted of a Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad and desserts of Almond Tuille with Fresh Berries and Molten Chocolate Lava Cake. Attendees also took home petit fours as gifts.
Corrigan said, “Because of your support, we can ensure that Interfaith continues helping Dallas families create a stronger foundation and grow more resilient.” She thanked the sponsors and the Sewells for their support.
Hill added, “Interfaith helps families in crisis transform their lives. From play therapy for children and a fully stocked library to financial coaching, counseling and childcare, Interfaith’s program considers the needs of the whole family and what it takes to build stability and security for the long term.”
Interfaith Family Services CEO Kimberly Williams spoke about the families, especially single mothers and their children, that the organization serves. “More than one-fourth of our city’s children live in poverty. Their parents face three key barriers to self-sufficiency: the cost of living, compensation and childcare.”
Williams then shared a video about how Interfaith’s holistic approach helps families eliminate these barriers to creating long-term stability – with housing or rental assistance; then, equipping parents to overcome poverty, with career and financial coaching; and finally, educating children to help break the cycle of generational poverty.
Next, Interfaith Family Services Board of Directors Chair Shay O’Dwyer King talked about the need to provide single mothers with a soft place to land when the unexpected happens. She said, “Interfaith is committed to its unique strategic philosophy of giving women a hand-up, not a hand-out, when they find themselves at the lowest point in their lives.”
Instead of a speaker, the co-chairs asked a graduate to share her powerful story. Interfaith graduate Kennethia Price shared her personal story of losing her job after a difficult pregnancy caused her to take bed rest. After she and her children spent two years living with friends and relatives, including her grandparents, and finally sleeping in her car, Price felt like she had exhausted her options. She was running out of hope when a friend introduced her to Interfaith. Price said, “Interfaith helped me move from surviving to thriving – in fact, you could say Interfaith was my soil and my water, and I was the seed. With a new beginning at Interfaith, I blossomed.”
Since participating in Interfaith’s program, Price has gotten a stable, better-paying job, saved money for an emergency fund, and moved into an apartment near Interfaith, where her children still attend daycare. She has earned her notary commission and looks forward to starting her own business and one day showing her children the world. The audience gave her a standing ovation because of her powerful words of redemption and her new beginning—thanks to Interfaith.
Blakey congratulated Price and the work of Interfaith and asked the attendees to support this work with their monetary gifts. Williams joined Blakey where they surprised Kennethia with a gift basket from Interfaith. The goodies included housewarming items for her new apartment and memberships to the Perot Museum and Dallas Arboretum.
Special thanks to the luncheon’s generous sponsors:
- Magnolia Sponsor: The Corrigan Family
- Orchid Sponsor: Katy and Kyle Miller Family Foundation
- Peony Sponsors: Benchmark Bank, The Hegi Family, Jill and Grant Henderson, The Hill and Guy Families and Kershaw Foundation
- Lily Sponsors: Susie and John Adams, Carpenter Family Fund, Clavis Impact Fund, Kathryn and Dirk Copple, Adriane and Andy Crosland and the Sapphire Foundation, Caroline Harrison Loehr, Ashley and Ryan Reid, The Rosewood Corporation, Sewell Automotive Companies, Ali and Justin Treaster and the Sapphire Foundation.
* Photo credit: Simon Luna