Benefit raises $150,000 for volunteer program delivering bouquets and treats to people in hospice, cancer centers and homes
The event was previously scheduled outdoors at a Hope Ranch estate. The location change did not alter the enthusiasm of the crowd of more than 200 guests, however.
“Big thanks to Steve Crossland, director of Page Youth, and Lucia Engel for this last-minute miracle hosting!” said Kisa Heyer, CEO of the nonprofit Dream Foundation.
The luncheon raised more than $150,000 for Flower Empower, one of Dream Foundation’s many community programs that help fulfill its mission of providing end-of-life Dreams offering inspiration, comfort and closure for terminally ill adults and their families.
Flower Empower is a volunteer-driven program that delivers floral bouquets, fresh-baked cookies, fine chocolates and handmade cards to people in hospices, cancer centers and homes.
Volunteers prepare dozens of arrangements using flowers generously donated by local growers and stores, including Trader Joe’s on De la Vina Street, Ever-Bloom, Florabundance, Maximum Nursery, Myriad Flowers and Westerlay Orchids.
“I have been volunteering here for nine years, along with my two daughters who are now 25 and 28,” volunteer Cynthia Spivey told Noozhawk. “I wanted them to have the experience of volunteering and we could also do it together.”
In 2018, the Flower Empower program logged 3,536 volunteer hours, resulting in the creation and delivery of 8,938 bouquets, or 150 a week.
“Since its inception in 1994, Flower Empower has provided more than 100,000 bouquets, cookies homemade by Robin Himovitz, and chocolates provided by Chocolats du CaliBressan,” said emcee Alan Rose, chief meteorologist for KEYT News.
“As a volunteer myself, I can tell you that it makes people very happy to deliver these bouquets.”
The following awards were presented at the May 16 event:
» 2019 Organization of the Year: National Charity League of Santa Barbara
» 2019 Florist of the Year: Tracey Morris, ella & louie floral studio
» 2019 Volunteers of the Year: Flower Empower Honorary Committee: Robin Himovitz, Jodi Fishman-Osti, Alys Martinez, Boris Palencia, Thea Palencia, Amie Parrish, Alan Rose, Shelley Schulte and Steven E. Shulem
Special recognition was also given to 2018 Awardees:
» Grower of the Year: Harry & Erik Van Wingerden, Myriad Flowers
» Volunteer of the Year: Jennifer Gillon Duffy
» Youth Volunteers of the Year: Paige Maho and Clare Kelly
Major sponsors included Lisa and George Hagerman, Colleen Barnett-Taylor and Michael Taylor, Kate and Arthur Coppola, Elizabeth and Kenny Slaught, Wells Hughes, Arlington Financial Advisors, Montecito Bank & Trust, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and many others. Luncheon underwriters were Justine Roddick and Tina Schlieske, Shelley and Paul Schulte, and the Rudi Schulte Family Foundation.
The Flower Empower Luncheon Committee included Jen Abed, Adrienne Carrere, Lucia Engel, Tara Ford, Marisa Grimes, Lisa Hagerman, Lynette Hall, Andra Macleod, Jet Martin, Amy Mayfield, Stephanie Nicks, Emma Recher, Melinda Rogers, Christina Rottman, Crosby Slaught, Cynthia Spivey, Daryl Stegall, Lizzie Tobias and Kelly Weiser.
Dream Foundation, the only national dream-granting organization for terminally ill adults, fulfills final Dreams that provide inspiration, comfort and closure at the end of life. With the support of a nationwide network of volunteers, hospices, health-care organizations and donors, Dream Foundation has given life to more than 30,000 final Dreams over the last 25 years.
— Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.