The nearly 100-degree weather required a quick relocation from the outdoor Monte Vista Garden to a cooler setting inside the nearby Coral Casino. Beautifully dressed supporters crowded under golden umbrellas seeking shade on the outside patio before the formal program began inside.
The purpose of the event was to raise funds to support the Flower Empower Program and to honor 2014 Program Sponsors Tim and Diane Brown; Special Volunteer of the Year Lynette Hall; Volunteer of the Year Bea Molina; Teen Volunteer of the Year Celyne Demonteverde, Florabundance owner Joost Bongarerts as well as a score of dedicated volunteers.
Flower Empower is a volunteer-driven program that delivers hope, good cheer and compassion — in the form of beautiful bouquets — to those in need. Several days each week, groups of volunteers gather at the local farmers market and other designated locations, where they prepare dozens of arrangements using donated flowers. Volunteers then make deliveries to hospitals, hospices, cancer centers and personal residences. In addition to the colorful and cheerful bouquets, flower recipients enjoy fresh-baked cookies, fine chocolates and cards handmade by local elementary school children.
A few of the many recognized were growers B and H Flowers, Botanik, Domingo Farms, Tim and Dianne Brown, Chocolats du CaliBressan, Arthur and Kate Coppola, Ever-Bloom, the Himovitz family, Westerlay Orchids, Valley Flowers, Trader Joe’s of Santa Barbara and Goleta, Maximum Nursery, Myriad, Westland Floral, the Santa Barbara Farmers Market, West Bloom Floral, and Robin Himovitz, who has donated and baked more than 60,000 cookies during the past 20 years in order to help "sweet dreams come true" for the bouquet recipients.
Top sponsors also included Michael and Tracy Bollag, Nora McNeely-Hurley, Dream Foundation founder Thomas Rollerson and Paul Schuette on behalf of the Rudi Schulte Family Foundation.
Dream Foundation Executive Director Kisa Heyer replaced retiring founder Thomas Rollerson five months ago.
“This year is a special year for the Dream Foundation," Heyer said. "It is our 20th anniversary, and we will have delivered nearly 20,000 dreams by the end of this year. We are so grateful for our loyal volunteers and donors who have made this happen.”
The hardworking event committee included Lynette Hall, Robin Himovitz, Jodi Fishman-Osti, Amie Parish, Shrin Rajaee, AlanRose, Shelley Schulte and Steve Shulem. Dedicated Valerie Banks is the Flower Empower coordinator.
The largest national wish-granting organization for adults, the Dream Foundation has been touching lives, meeting needs, reuniting families and providing peace, closure and joy at the end of life’s journey. Together with hundreds of volunteers and more than 600 hospices and health-care organizations nationwide, it fulfills thousands of dreams across the country each year.
For more information, click here or contact the Dream Foundation at 1528 Chapala St., Suite 304 in Santa Barbara or 805.564.2131.
— Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.