The Valley Line: 'Dinners from the Heart' help raise funds

Residents of our valley joined their hearts and hands for a fundraising dining-out adventure called “Dinners from the Heart” in support of Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services.

More than 400 community members, neighbors and friends dined at one of the 30-plus participating restaurants to help fund Hathaway-Sycamores' comprehensive continuum of therapeutic and other support service for children and families.

This year's “Dinner from the Heart” raised more than $55,000. The event was co-chaired by Bob and Gregg Smith of Smith Brothers Restaurant Corporation and Los Altos Auxiliary, which was founded right here in La Cañada Flintridge. Since its inception in 1991, “Dinners from the Heart” has raised more than $650,000.

This year also included a series of dinners that featured special and informative guests. The “celebs” at the designated dinners included contemporary American artist Peter Adams and his wife, Elaine, at the Parkway Grill; artistic director and conductor of Muse/Ique Rachael Worby at Gale's restaurant; horse racing's winningest jockey, Laffit Pincay Jr., at the Derby restaurant; winemaker Dave Vergari of Vergari Wines at the Raymond; and winemaker Wes Hagen of Clos Pepe at Noir Food & Wine. Wes grew up here in LCF.

Another fundraising event recently took place when more than 90 “floaters” braved the stay-at-home rain warnings from weathermen to venture to the home of Jean and Don Spomer, who hosted the La Cañada Tournament of Roses Assn.'s Happy Hour, an evening of food and fun. The good news was that it didn't rain after all. Guests enjoyed delicious and varied appetizers and desserts, and lounged on the roomy patio while engaging in lively conversations with friends and neighbors about the new float.

The 2013 float concept, “Oh, The Places You'll Go,” was introduced for next year, and the float construction team is awaiting the first mechanical designs and animation concepts to appear. Lots of volunteers are pitching in and getting things ready for float construction. Oh, the fun is about to begin!

The gathering of supporters included President Ann Neilson, with Bob Neilson, Judy and Dick Ridgeway, David Moffett, Sue Beatty, Chuck Hughes, Trish and Ron Diaz, Sherrill Carbonetti, Claire Slaughter, Lee and Merv Johnson, Patti and Ross Newton, Ruth and Charlie Plowman, Penelope Verner, Julie Cameron and David Granish, Otis Hutchins, Betty Jones, Sylvia and Dwight Tudor, Brenda Gant and Jeff Hughes, Vera and Garth Gragg, Joy and Joe Wilson, Joyce Ruygrok and Pat Foltyn.

Other attendees included Bobbie and Clyde Hemphill, Diane and John Landrum, Art Johnson, Martha Burns, Wendy and Phil Wyatt, Lynne and Joe Thompson, Betty and Bob Keller, Adene and Jim Misamore, Joyce and Bob Covey, Gloria Winkley, JoAnn and Gil McCoy, Pam Wiedenbeck, Mary Lou and Eric Fiske, Joey and Dave Mitchell, Becky and Chuck Gelhaar, Nana and Joel Smith, Nancy Wyman, Pam and Bud Carney, Phyllis and Mike Trueblood, Barbara Dennerline, Jenny Pass, Mary and Duane Batanhorst, Tori and Mike Gillespie, Fran and Bill Evans, Margaret and Wayne Kruse, Chuck Terhune, Doris Samuelson, Doris Coates, Jean and Jerry Martin, Ann Hills, Larry Andreason, Helen and David Gilstrap, Joan and Chuck McGee, and Joel and Darlene Peterson.

Don't forget, the La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn.'s annual Bingo BBQ (a big fundraiser for our float) will be at the La Cañada Thursday Club, on Saturday, April 28, starting with a no-host reception at 6 p.m. Cost is $50 per person. The event is for those 18 years or older.

JANE NAPIER NEELY covers the La Cañada social scene. Email her at

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