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On the Town: Luncheon, fashion show prove to be memorable ways to raise funds

On the Town: Luncheon, fashion show prove to be memorable ways to raise funds
Leaders of the Las Candelas 66th anniversary benefit are, from left, President Nancy Stone, and co-chairs JC Byer and Pattie McCormick. (Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

“Memories Are Made of This” was the theme of the Las Candelas benefit celebrating the organization’s 66 years of service to the community.

On March 4, more than 500 members and their guests stormed the just-opened doors to the Academy Ballroom at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel.

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The hungry supporters were ready for lunch after a morning of buying — purchasing boutique items of clothing, jewelry and handbags. Opportunity drawing tickets and “special drawings” of vacations, ball gowns and restaurants were all up for grabs, raising more than a little change, of course.

The luncheon, held every two years, had something for everybody — sumptuous food, fashions and fun. Benefit co-chairwomen JC Byer and Pattie McCormick were ringmasters of a three-ring circus as they gamely fit in greetings, choosing and announcing winning tickets, introducing dignitaries and directing the sometimes complex process of how to win table centerpieces full of flowers.

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Staff at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services supported by Las Candelas are, from left, Heather Sardella, Christine Brinn, Lyn Morris and Andrew Rubin.
Staff at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services supported by Las Candelas are, from left, Heather Sardella, Christine Brinn, Lyn Morris and Andrew Rubin. (Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

Kicking off the program was Nancy Stone, president of Las Candelas. She welcomed her audience and introduced a video presentation that put into action the group’s mission statement.

Las Candelas members provide volunteer service and financial assistance to children and youth “in vulnerable situations and support awareness of their mental health needs.”

Stone also introduced representatives from the groups that benefit from the good deeds of Las Candelas members.

Those organizations are Hillsides Education Center & Youth Moving On, Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services, Ascencia for homeless services, the Glendale YWCA’s domestic violence program and Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services.

The fashions of designer Lourdes Chavez were the hit of the Las Candelas 66th anniversary benefit. An audience favorite was the model in the red dress.
The fashions of designer Lourdes Chavez were the hit of the Las Candelas 66th anniversary benefit. An audience favorite was the model in the red dress. (Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

Didi Hirsch leaders recognized were Andrew Rubin, Lyn Morris, Christine Brinn and Heather Sardella.

After the announcement of the winners of more drawings, lunch was served. The first course was a spring salad with strawberries. Next was chicken Wellington on roasted vegetables. Dessert was baked Alaska. No wonder the ballroom entrances were stormed before lunch.

Frank Sinatra look-alike and sound-alike James Brewster sang and pranced down the runaway, recreating memories of Mr. Golden Throat himself.

The highlight of the afternoon was a fashion show featuring the designer collection of Lourdes Chavez. Oohs and ahhs from the audience accompanied each ensemble more beautiful than the one that came before it. Off the runway, Sandi Goff modeled her own Lourdes Chavez dress — a ballgown in soft yellow with draped fabric at the neck.

James Brewster, Frank Sinatra tribute artist, croons his way down the runway for Las Candelas.
James Brewster, Frank Sinatra tribute artist, croons his way down the runway for Las Candelas. (Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

More supporters in their own versions of classy luncheon clothing were Liza Boubari, from HealWithin, philanthropists Margaret Kaufman and Jane Viar, City Councilwoman Paula Devine, Ann Ransford, president of Glendale Community College’s board of trustees, and Glendale Soroptimist members Gayle Craig and Margo Bottcher.

Also attending were recently announced Glendale Latino Assn.’s “Man of the Year,” David Viar, superintendent/president of Glendale Community College, and “Woman of the Year,” Irene Bourdon, president of the Adventist Health Glendale Foundation.

Over six decades ago, a group of women brought Christmas gifts to the children in the mental health ward at Camarillo State Hospital. In 1953, those women organized Las Candelas. To use the popular lingo, “You’ve come a long way, baby.”

Ruth Sowby Rands may be reached at ruthasowby@gmail.com.

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