Everybody loves a parade, and the 90th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade continued with the tradition. I can remember going to the parade with my mom when I was just a little girl. She would tell me to bend down and walk between the other spectators’ legs and sit on the curb, where I could get a bird’s eye view. Today, of course, I wouldn’t let Julia out of my sight but those were the good old days.
Now that Thanksgiving 2016 has passed, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Are you making your lists and checking them twice? Are you thinking about who has been naughty and who has been nice? Whether shopping online or heading out to the old brick and mortar, be sure to allow for plenty of time. Most importantly, be kind to yourself and to others.
Having always been kind is Citymeals on Wheels, which has delivered 54 million meals since Christmas 1981 to the elderly and disabled throughout the city. What better way to give a cheer than with the 30th annual “Power Lunch for Women?” The event was attended by 400 women recognized as leaders of industry, media, government and the arts. With Carla Hall, co-host of ABC’s “The Chew,” chef and cookbook author as master of ceremony, the event raised approximately $1 million. So we can continue to see Citymeals on Wheels providing meals for New York’s homebound elderly for quite some time. Honored was co-founder and board chair Gael Greene for her tireless dedication. Among the invitation-only guests in attendance were Cicely Tyson, Janice Savin Williams, Sunny Anderson, Deborah Roberts and board member Aliyyah Baylo. Just to show all is fair in love and invites, men were allowed to purchase a ticket to attend, priced at $10,000. It was so nice to see chef Alexander Smalls was among them.
Here’s a name we only hear in the summer, but did you know they are active all year-round? The Fresh Air Fund, the nonprofit organization responsible for providing a summer vacation for more than 4,000 inner-city kids each summer, hosted its annual Fall Benefit and Silent Auction, “Cirque du Fresh Air,” at Chelsea Piers. More than 700 supporters and friends enjoyed cocktails, dinner and dancing. The silent auction raised more than $540,000, all to benefit the fund.
The Fresh Air Fund has quite a history. The agency was founded in 1877, and has since provided free summer out of the city camps to more than 1.8 million New York City children from low-income communities. Each summer, the participating children visit volunteer host families in rural and suburban communities along the East Coast and in Southern Canada. There are five Fresh Air summer camps on a close to 2,000-acre site in Fishkill, N.Y., that accommodate 3,000 children. Young people also participate in year-round educational enrichment programs at camp and in New York City.
Among those eyeing the tempting silent auction items, which included a private show with The Foodie Magician, a two-night stay in an ocean-view Jr. Suite at Faena Hotel in Miami Beach, a visit to the set of Showtime’s “Billions,” a chef’s tasting dinner at Avra Madison, two tickets to the “Project Runway” finale at New York Fashion Week; a two-night stay at the Museum Hotel in Turkey in a luxury cave suite with view of the Cappadocia Valley; tickets to Broadway shows and sporting events; handbags by Giorgio Armani and Chloe, jewelry, golf packages, spa packages and so much more, were Lydia Carlston, benefit chairs and Fresh Air Fund board members Richard D. Thomas and his wife Tamie Peters Thomas, benefit chair Selita Ebanks, Fresh Air Fund Executive Director Fatima Shama and Crystal Martin.
While we’re speaking about the kids, The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, the world’s first child protection agency, held its fourth annual Food & Wine Gala at the Metropolitan Club. Every year the event succeeds at raising vital funding for the agency, proceeds of which directly fund the NYSPCC’s Trauma Recovery Program. The Trauma Recovery Program offers a specialized therapeutic program for children, aged 5 to 18, who have experienced physical or sexual abuse, neglect or traumatic bereavement, or who have witnessed family violence, which can have a devastating effect on a child’s growth and development. Flo Anthony was in attendance, along with Frederick Anderson and President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross.
Still about the children, more than 800 guests were shielded from the rain by ushers who stood side by side with oversized umbrellas as guests walked the long entrance-way leading to Cipriani Wall Street to attended the 12th annual UNICEF Snowflake Ball. UNICEF has provided children with access to food, water, education and health care and protected the intrinsic rights of children to a basic quality of life for more 70 years. Never was it needed more than it is needed today.
Honored at this year’s gala was UNICEF goodwill ambassador, singer Katy Perry, with the Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award, and Moll Anderson, with the Spirit of Compassion Award. The more than $3 million raised from this year’s Snowflake Ball were added to the $27 million raised over the past 11 years, and 90 percent of every dollar spent goes directly to assist children. Presenting sponsors included Marine and Baccarat, who donated a beautifully wrapped pair of crystal tumblers for each guest at the end of the night. The UNICEF Baccarat snowflake was delicately placed as the table’s centerpiece. The menu was designed by Marcus Samuelsson. The “faces of UNICEF,” children tastefully decorated the covers on the backs of the dining room chairs. Octavia Spencer served as the evening’s master of ceremonies, with a performance by the cast of “The Color Purple.”
Until next week … kisses.