Palm Beach philanthropists Robert G. and Arlette Gordon (Grand Honorary Chairpersons) joined Elizabeth Bowden (Gala Chairwoman) and Paul Marino (Event Chairman) on stage at Food For The Poor’s eighth-annual Fine Wines & Hidden Treasures gala on Jan. 30 at The Breakers, Palm Beach.
Food For The Poor’s gala began with a superb wine tasting reception with selected wines compliments of Dreyfus, Ashby & Co., and Republic National Distributing Company. Throughout the reception, unique wine selections, jewelry and exotic escapes were among the varied silent and live auction prizes.
Once in the ballroom Arlette Gordon thanked Patrick Park and Nathalie Fernandez for graciously committing to be the charity’s platinum benefactors. She then mentioned Silver and Gala benefactors by name, thanking them individually for their support to build critically needed homes in developing countries.
Silver benefactors include Elizabeth Bowden, Florence DeGeorge, Robert G. and Arlette Gordon, and Howard and Michele Kessler. Gala benefactors include Helen Bernstein, Stanley and Helene Karp, Charlotte Kimelman, Henry Fong and Mary Virginia Knight, Anneliese Langner, Hermé de Wyman Miro – The International Society of Palm Beach, Patty Myura – Eleanor Reeves Foundation, and Ari Rifkin.
After Arlette Gordon briefly reminisced on their friendship and travel excursions, Bowden attributed her becoming a supporter of Food For The Poor to Arlette Gordon.
“Living on this beautiful island, it is hard to imagine the horrific living conditions that exist in Haiti,” said Bowden. “More than a million Haitians were displaced immediately following the earthquake, and they struggle daily to find food, safe drinking water and shelter. By supporting Food For The Poor’s “Fine Wines & Hidden Treasures” gala, you, too, can help provide permanent housing for those who have nowhere to call home.”
The Breakers Executive Chef Jeff Simms described the five-course menu that featured each of The Breakers’ restaurants, and mentioned the specially selected fine wines that were chosen to enhance each course. Robert Gordon’s epicurean reputation is known throughout Palm Beach, and for many years he has been recognized as one of the area’s most generous philanthropists and past Bailli-Confrérie de las Chaines des Rôtisseurs.
“Food For The Poor is one of those charities that does not just send money,” said Robert Gordon. “They make sure the supplies reach those who need them the most. Food For The Poor is a good steward with donations – more than 96 percent of all donations go directly to programs that help the poor.”
Angel Aloma, Food For The Poor’s Executive Director, began by thanking the Gordons, Elizabeth Bowden and Paul Marino for all they have done through the years to introduce Food The Poor to the Palm Beach community.
Aloma recalled how a few days before last year’s event he returned from the devastated country of Haiti. As of December 2010, he said Food For The Poor had shipped 1,465 tractor-trailer loads of food, water, medicines and other lifesaving relief aid valued at $205 million to Haiti. More than 1,589 permanent two-room homes with sanitation units and access to water have also been built to house displaced earthquake victims. Members of the crowd applauded when Aloma said the $20.7 million dollars collected as Haiti emergency earthquake relief funds by Food For The Poor had been spent by the end of October 2010.
Then Aloma introduced Ray Mou, Director General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Miami (Taiwan), the gala’s Grand Benefactor. He described Mou as a wonderful man and poet.
“Half a century ago, between 1949 and 1965, Taiwan received nearly a $1.5 billion loan and grant from the United States to reconstruct its economy after World War II,” said Mou. “Now, as the twenty-fourth largest economy in the world we are no longer a recipient state. We actively lend a helping hand to people in need. The ultimate purpose of our humanitarian diplomacy is to promote humanity and to ask for nothing back in return. We wish we could do more to help the Global Village.”
Mou said the Taiwanese did not hesitate to help following the earthquake in Haiti. Joint initiatives between Taiwan ICDF and Food For The Poor include feeding the destitute, and the in-country production of food through agriculture, farm-raised fish and livestock breeding – self-sustainable initiatives that teach people how to earn a living. In 2010, Taiwan ICDF donated 1,250 tons of rice to Food For The Poor.
During the live auction, Curt Fonger, master of ceremonies and CBS WPEC Channel 12’s weeknight anchor, rallied the crowd in support of Food For The Poor’s mission. Auction prizes included exotic vacation destinations such as Hong Kong and Montego Bay, Jamaica. The third item to be auctioned was one of Oprah Winfrey’s Favorite Things. A donor gave the Philip Stein, diamond-bezel watch to Food For The Poor, so monies raised could assist with the charity’s house building effort.
Earlier in the evening, Aloma thanked attendees for their gift of presence, telling the audience that every dance helps to wipe away tears; every course helps bring back people on the verge of despair; and every sip of wine gives people back the ability to dream. The performances by La Mystique enthralled guests and filled the dance floor.
Gala sponsors included American Nicaraguan Foundation, Dreyfus, Ashby & Co., Russ Reid Company, Republic National Distributing Company, and TerraGroup.
For additional information regarding the Fine Wines & Hidden Treasures event, please call 1-888-404-4248 or visit the event page online.
Food For The Poor, the third-largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. We provide emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor.
For more information, please visit www.foodforthepoor.org.
Jennifer Leigh Oates
Food For The Poor
954-427-2222 x 6054