The Crowd: Childhelp fundraiser nets $190,000

The internationally known car auctioneer Barrett-Jackson teamed up with the Orange County Chapter of Childhelp on June 23 in Costa Mesa to produce a lively summer event billed as "Cowboys, Cars & Stars."

Who could resist an invitation like that? The evening party unfolded at the Orange County Fair & Event Center, attracting 250 donors and raising an impressive $190,000. The proceeds will benefit abused and neglected children cared for by Childhelp.

This was the second annual Drive the Dream event for Childhelp. Arriving guests in their cowboy duds mingled with a selection of the amazing automotive collection going up for auction under the Barrett-Jackson hammer. Nothing like a vintage vehicle stirs memories of youth.

Chaired by super-dedicated Childhelp leaders Patti and Jim Edwards and Diana and Chris Miner, the evening also featured the talented "American Idol" finalist Casey James on guitar with vocals, and a hot new trio in from Nashville, Stealing Angels.

In Orange County and around the nation, there is another name synonymous with exceptional cars. That name is Meguiar, the top-selling brand of car wax products in the U.S. and more than 90 other countries. Karen and Barry Meguiar served as honorary chairs of the Drive the Dream gala. Barry Meguiar can be seen as host of "Car Crazy" on the Speed Channel (where else?).

Borne out of deep religious conviction, the Newport Beach residents share a passion for helping the children of Childhelp. For more than 40 years, the Meguiars have been leading supporters of an organization known as Teen Challenge International, with Karen Meguiar in charge of their ladies guild. Soon they will launch a lay ministry they are calling "Revival: Outside the Walls of the Church."

Childhelp, since its founding in the 1950s, has had its roots in a primary connection to Christian charity. Founders Yvonne Fedderson and Sara O'Meara, and many of the board members and donors large and small, profess a serious calling to help children from a religious-inspired direction. The devotion of so many sponsors is more of a calling than a social/community connection. For 50 years, that calling has saved thousands of children, many of whom were considered beyond the scope of care administered by government agencies. Childhelp remains a last stop for abused children with literally nowhere else to go.

Sharing in this mission are two serious patrons, Jacquie and Michael Casey, honored with the Childhelp Heart of Compassion award. Starbucks' former chief financial officer and a current advisor to Starbucks President Howard Schultz, Michael Casey and his bride invest time, money and passion in the Childhelp cause. Jacquie Casey has been involved for 24 years and serves on the board of the Orange County Chapter. In addition, the Caseys sponsor a "special friend," a child living at the Childhelp Village in Beaumont.

Also honored was Michelle Lund, who received the Childhelp Humanitarian Award. Her grandparents, Lillian and Walt Disney, joined the Childhelp cause in the 1960s, and Michelle carries on the family tradition through a foundation named for her mother, Sharon D. Lund, the adopted daughter of Walt and Lillian Disney.

Childhelp committee members working on the gala and deserving credit include Mary Allen Dexter, Pam Pharris, Katherine Meredith and Shan Womack. For more information, on Childhelp visit

THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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