The Crowd: Local celebrities lend hand to O.C.'s homeless

A Restaurant, Newport Beach was overflowing with energy Sunday evening. A sold-out crowd converged on the Pacific Coast Highway landmark to support an organization known as Serving People In Need.

SPIN executive director Jean Wegener and development chair Kim Frazier organized the Sunday dinner at "A" around a celebrity bartender theme. Behind the counter, local celebrity Alexis Bellino, co-star of the television sensation "The Real Housewives of Orange County," joined husband Jim in shaking up plenty of martinis.

The Bellinos were joined by social diva Peggy Goldwater Clay and her husband, Bob Clay, Irvine Co. executive Barbara Eidson and her husband Kyle, social columnist Lynn Selich and her husband Ed, the Newport Beach councilman, and top real estate maven Alison McCormick, of The McCormick Group at Teles Properties, and her attorney-husband, Kimo.

The night's success belonged in large part to honorary chairs Karen and Dick Nichol, parents of A Restaurant owner/partner McG. The Nichols rallied friends helping to fill the "A" dining room and raising the bar for SPIN.

The Nichols' daughter, noted interior designer Betsy Van't Hof, celebrated with former professional tennis player and husband Robert Van't Hof, sharing his birthday with family and friends. Also on hand in support of SPIN were the dedicated Mary Lou and Wayne Shattuck, Richard and Kim Crawford, Ann and Dan Delaney, Walter and Lori Frome, Mari and Stan Frome, Gary Snyder, Barbara Foster, and Sue Tucker.

By the end of the evening, about $7,000 was netted for SPIN, thanks to the generosity of "A" and some 165 patrons who came to make a difference for Orange County's homeless and working poor.

"Ninety cents of every dollar raised goes directly to helping people in need in our own backyard," Wegener told the crowd as the bar became silent. "You are all here tonight making a real difference. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all for your support."


On April 2, the Newport Harbor Yacht Club welcomed The Hutchins Consort for a spring benefit billed "Islands in the Sun."

Hutchins Consort founder Joe McNalley, son of Corona del Mar's much-admired Sharon McNalley, arranged the concert on acoustically matched violins designed by the late Carleen Hutchins.

Hutchins Consort board co-president Bob Boyer was front and center greeting the arrivals, including music devotees Sabra Bordas, Nora Jorgensen Johnson, Bobbitt Williams and Susan Beechner.

Also on hand for the event were donors Judy and Howard Jelinek, Ellie Faber, Jane Grier, Warren Coy, Judith and Ronald Rosen, and Dean Corey, president of the Orange County Philharmonic Society. The generous crowd raised $31,000 in proceeds benefiting the Consort.

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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