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The Crowd: Harvesters Fashion Show and Luncheon benefits food bank

Vocational Visions Executive Director Joan McKinney, center, with 2018 Volunteer of the Year Lori Bartlett, left, and 2019 Volunteer of the Year Jill Cooper.
Vocational Visions Executive Director Joan McKinney, center, with 2018 Volunteer of the Year Lori Bartlett, left, and 2019 Volunteer of the Year Jill Cooper.
(Courtesy of Doug Gifford and Ryan Miller)

The vibe of the big fashion shows in Paris, Milan, New York and Beijing came to Costa Mesa in both style and spirit as the 27th annual Harvesters Fashion Show and Luncheon captivated the “influencer” crowd Oct. 2 at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.

Benefiting the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County, more than $1 million was raised, due to the monumental effort of chairwomen Laura Barratta, Jodi Salerno and Gail Haft.

Joining the co-chairs were the community-minded leaders of South Coast Plaza who have been the mainstay of support for this fall fashion spectacular since its inception in 1992: Jennifer Segerstrom, Debra Gunn Downing and Kathryn Cenci, the SCP triad of power.

Co-chairs of the Harvesters 27th Annual Fashion Show and Luncheon, Laura Barratta, Jodi Salerno and Gail Haft, help raise over $1 million to help end hunger in Orange County.
(Courtesy of Doug Gifford and Ryan Miller)

Also up close and personal for the party, attracting a sold-out crowd of more than 400 donors, were Harvesters co-founders Jill Johnson Tucker and Jennifer Van Bergh, formerly ingénues, now grand dames of the Harvester set. It’s hard to believe it has been a generational evolution. Also, hard to believe that the hunger problem is more acute than ever.

To learn more about the Harvesters, go to

VV creates opportunity

Some 300 O.C. residents recently gathered to change the lives of adults dealing with intellectual and developmental challenges. This sector of society has a genuine need to be wanted and to become contributing members of the community.

The organization is known as Vocational Visions (VV), and they have been at it since 1974, working with folks providing pathways to employment through comprehensive programs aimed at “social inclusion and life-long learning.”

VV Executive Director Joan McKinney joined board chair Linda Albers at a Sept. 7 dinner party held at The Hyatt Regency, John Wayne Airport, raising upward of $115,000 to support programs that have, to date, served some 500 O.C. men and women.


Honored guests included Tyler Heilman, Kieran Leedom, Sam Brown, Barbara Botelerand Jill Cooper. Corporate honors went to Laguna Niguel Whole Foods, Rancho Mesa Insurance, Park Terrace and Pretend City.

To learn more, visit

The thrill of Discovery

Science education is at the forefront of the message delivered by O.C.’s Discovery Cube, Santa Ana. The STEM-focused children’s museum and interactive learning center welcomed nearly 350 O.C. donors on Sept. 28 for its 2019 gala fundraiser, raising an impressive $475,000 for science education.

Joe Adams, chief executive of the Discovery Science Foundation, welcomed supporters Janet and James “Walkie” Ray, Jim and Sheila Peterson, Julie and Tom McDorman, Chiyo and Stan Rowe, to the 21st annual gathering.

The Rays and the McDormans co-chaired the evening, which paid tribute to Douglas Freeman receiving the Arnold O. Beckman Award. Also honored were Malcolm and Pat Niles, who have supported the organization since its inception in 2009. Many of the guests arrived in costume, keeping with the dinner theme, “Superheroes & Legends.”

To learn more, go to

Building playhouses for real houses

Do you remember the childhood excitement over entering a playhouse in the backyard with your best friend? Maybe it was nothing more than a tent, but maybe the playhouse had windows and a door, maybe even a shingled roof with a weather vane.

On Oct. 5, Orange County businesses held a face-off competition building the greatest playhouses for kids. It was all a fund-raising effort in support of Habitat for Humanity. Organizers labeled the event a “Building Tomorrow” competition. The Saturday competition unfolded at the City National Grove of Anaheim.

Participating executives came with hammers, saws and architectural drawings. Competitors represented Disneyland, First American, Pacific Mercantile Bank, MacKenzie Corp., Presbyterian Coalition, Cox Communications, Branded Group and City National Bank and other businesses.

The main sponsor bringing all of this together was LBA Realty. The goal was to raise big dollars to assist low-income families in Orange County struggling to make the rent. In the end they were all winners, and the sale of playhouses will put dollars to important use.


To find out more, visit

Wearing pink at Palisades Tennis Club

Palisades Tennis Club was honored with a certificate of recognition by Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach) at the 10th annual “Rally for the Cause” tennis tournament.

Palisades has been a leader in the community when it comes to breast-cancer prevention and raising funds donated to Breast Cancer Angels, a Los Alamitos nonprofit that assists individuals undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

The goal is to ensure that no individual should have to make a choice between treatment and food. The organization also pays for hospice and final expenses of patients at the end of their lives.

On Oct. 7 Palisades Club members brought out their pink to help support breast-cancer awareness and celebrate the lives of members who are battling the disease. Terri De Long, general manager, accepted the award representing the tennis club.

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