Since 1970 Share Our Selves has been front and center in Orange County, caring for the underserved community. Over some five decades the challenges have remained the same, but the need has exponentially grown.
In addition to the expanding homeless crisis throughout the county, SOS serves the legends of working poor with medical and dental services, behavioral health, case management, financial assistance and a food pantry. The Costa Mesa charity also offers special holiday programs this time of year.
The value of the holiday programs must not be underestimated. For countless citizens in need the experience of enjoying the holidays in a communal setting is transformative. At least for the moment.
Fittingly, with Thanksgiving around the corner, Share Our Selves held its 29th annual Celebrity Chef Dinner at the Paséa Hotel & Spa, Huntington Beach.
The dinner is always one of the highly anticipated events of the fall social season, not because it is glamorous, but rather because the cause is heartfelt by loyal supporters of SOS. Of course, it’s pretty special to have celebrated O.C. chefs creating a one-of-a-kind dining experience.
Some 250 patrons and sponsors came together for this unique 29th annual event, ultimately netting $129,000 for the SOS Food Pantry and Comprehensive Service Center. This center is the arm of SOS responsible for providing food and services, such as rental and utility assistance, transportation and seasonal programs, including an upcoming Thanksgiving celebration for low-income individuals and families.
Making it possible were underwriters Charlotte Levingston, Michael and Kathy Lewis, Clay Seger, James and Pam Hardenberg, and Judith Rosser. The committee in charge of the evening included Gaye Besler, Kara Demostene, Maggie Hayes, Elizabeth Hopkins, Helen Kinsey, Karen McGlinn, Mary Moyer, Katie Santore, Debbie Springer and Cindy Touch.
The crowd arrived at Hotel Paséa, enjoying an outdoor fall reception on the large terrace overlooking the surf in Huntington Beach. All of the celebrity chefs and their staff members were on hand along with bartenders and beverage sponsors supplying hors -d’oeuvres, beer and wine. A silent auction offered the opportunity to bid on items donated by local individuals and businesses.
The party moved from the outdoor terrace to the Paséa ballroom, welcomed by SOS CEO Christy Ward. She joined SOS Social Services Director Michael McGlinn in addressing the crowd on the seriousness of their mission. The dinner that followed was created by a diverse lineup of culinary talent. Each of the well-known chefs prepared a specialty dish for either an appetizer, first course, entrée or dessert. They blended their talents, working together in creating the meal.
Special thanks goes to chefs James Angotti, Marco Arreguin, Michael Beck, Octavio Flores, Linda Johnsen, David Man, Eric Mickle, Sergio Ortega, Alessandro Pirozzi, Prabeen Prathapan, Rainer Schwarz, Rachel Klemek and Andy de la Cruz.
In the dinner crowd were guests Jay Donoghue, Marc and Lura Harper, Larry and Dulcie Kugelman, David and Georgina Takemoto, Eric and Betty Christiansen and Will and Annick Klatte.
Special thanks goes to the donors, including Deborah Schneider, Rich Mead, Jim and Diane Bailey, Theresa Madden, Sandy Fainbarg, Keith Bauer, Christina and Bob Gannon, Betty Storch, Alexis Furze, Lou D’Ambrosio, Anne and Bob Cress, Mary Moyer, Christopher Blank, and Michael and Jamie McGlinn.