Houston’s Gives Back With Its Stellar Luncheons

By Jennifer Roosth   Photography by Kim Coffman, Fulton Davenport, Bea Jimenez, Mauro Luna, and Roswitha Vogler

THE SCENE: Houston’s heavy hitters have turned out for a season of highly polished events to benefit some of Houston’s favorite causes. A-list crowds gathered at various fundraising events to address timely issues and concerns, including childhood obesity, substance abuse, and various medical and health issues.

THE VIBE: Houston loves to give back, and the overwhelming attendance at this year’s charity luncheons demonstrated their support and encouragement of causes close to their hearts. Supporting local, as well as national and international causes, they gave not only funds but also their time and attention. Some events marked their inaugural year (PDAP), while other annual and recurring events celebrated their ongoing success, which included some landmark anniversaries. Bravo, Houston.

THE CAUSES: Palmer Drug Abuse Program had their inaugural luncheon, chaired by Deborah Duncan, Alicia Smith and Ali Saberioon and honorary chairs Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson and Judge Denise Bradley. The luncheon raised $115,000 to contribute to PDAP’s mission, “to be the most effective prevention and recovery program helping young people and families avoid or recover from the devastating effects of drug and alcohol abuse.” Keynote speaker was author and philanthropist Lester Smith.

AIDS Foundation Houston’s event, chaired by Ernie Manouse and Bill Baldwin, hosted Houston’s annual World AIDS Day Luncheon featuring actress and AIDS Activist Pam Grier, had the goal of “getting to zero” — zero new infections, zero AIDS related deaths and zero stigma. AIDS Foundation Houston awarded the Shelby Hodge Vision Award to the Houston Bar Association AIDS Outreach Committee.

Recipe for Success Foundation and founders Gracie and Bob Cavnar celebrated the organization’s 10th year of leading the way in combatting childhood obesity by changing the way children understand, appreciate and eat their food and by helping the community provide healthier diets for kids. As the largest outreach of its kind in the nation, RFS reached 4,000 children every month with Seed-to-Plate education. The Annual “Blue Plate Special Café Harvest Market & Awards Luncheon” was chaired by Kirsten and John Berger and Arvia and Jason Few. The event honored founding board members Amy Anton, Glen & Honi Boudreaux, Phyllis Childress and Kim Tutcher, along with early advisor, Peg Lee, and this year’s Blue Plate Chef of the Year award winner Chef Robert Del Grande, and Mayor’s Award and Champion of Food Justice recipient Lance Gilliam.

The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show’s PIN OAK “What to Wear to that Equestrian Affaire Luncheon and Fashion Presentation,” chaired by Alexis Caruselle and Hector Villarreal featuring David Peck and LUCHO designs, raised $42,000 for the 71st year of the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show which benefit Texas Children’s Hospital, CandleLighters, and The Ronald McDonald House.

The Haras Cup Hat Derby Luncheon at Haras Hacienda featured three days of national and international riders with six levels of competition in the spectacular new, entirely enclosed Haras Hacienda arena. The events attracted 4,500 people raising $200,000 to benefit Kids’ Meals. Carmina Zamorano and her husband Rafael Chavez organized and chaired the weekend’s festivities.

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