Sarah House Santa Barbara invited supporters to share their light during this time of year when things could be dark for those who have lost loved ones. The nonprofit organization's annual benefit and fundraiser, called Northern Lights, was held at beloved Santa Barbara Woman’s Club at Rockwood in Mission Canyon.
Sarah House provides a home and end-of-life care for people who are very low income, and sometimes homeless, as well as providing assistance to family and friends of Sarah House residents. The organization retains its original mission by also providing for men and women with HIV/AIDS as envisioned by founder Sarah Health nearly 25 years ago.
“We trust that our community care adds to the growing body of hospice wisdom," said Debbie McQuade, executive director of Sarah House. "All of this is carried out with what has been called extraordinary kindness. We at Sarah House work every day to be extraordinarily kind. No one needs to die alone. The dying need a warm bed, and Sarah House is there to meet that need, no matter what a person’s circumstances are.”
Led by Hallie Anderson, board vice president of special events, and board president Melinda Carey, the wonderful event featured many silent auction items that included original art, jewelry, decorated holiday trees and the ever-popular week in Tuscany.
Others committed to the event included board members Jean Lange Davis, Cathie Walker, Serena Carroll, Dr. John Cervantes, Mark Hamilton, Rick Knowles, Fritz Krainer, Miyoko Kudo, Linda Lorenzen-Hughes, Tom Stone, Executive Director Dabbie McQuade and House Manager Dr. Stephen Jones
Wondrous White sponsors included the Jean Perkins Foundation, Linda Lorenzen Huges, QAD, and Christine and John Murphy. Other sponsors included Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care, Jean and Dave Davis, Léni Fé Bland, Sally and Mark Hamilton, Debbie and Paul Jones, Erin and Rick Knowles, George Noble, Leslie Ridley Tree and Union Bank.
Amid constantly changing lights, similar to the aurora borealis, guests were alternatively bathed in pink, green, blue and purple hues, although the hosted bar was backlit with colored neon. Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards and Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard were the wine purveyors, along with a celestial array of colorful cocktails. Kay Bowman Catering offered an outstanding buffet dinner that was enjoyed by supporters including Leena Krasno, Dr. Rick Lewis, Dr. Jim Krasno, Joe and Paul Campanelli, Dr. Bob Scott, Rob Pierson, Dave and Jane Davis, Ellen Goodman, Jill Wollerstadt, Father Jon-Stephen Hedges, Melissa Hedges, sisters Peggy Jo and Debbie Love, Joyce Jerge and House Manager Tom Stone.
“My mother was always an activist,” said Linda Lorenzen-Hughes, daughter of Sarah House founder Alice Heath. “She worked as a social worker and public health worker in the 1920s — always helping the poor.”
In 1989, Heath founded a nonprofit for men and women dying from HIV/AIDS. Heath House, as it was to be called, opened its doors at 18 E. Sola St. to people who were not only dying at a young age but also dying surrounded by fear. Leading with truth and courage, Heath changed much of that. In the mid-1990s, Sarah Shoresman, well into her 80s, matched her countless hours of board service with a financial gift that enabled the organization to build its own home, which they named Sarah House.
Located on Modoc Road, Sarah House is cared for by the staff and volunteers who want people to find a place of beauty in which to live out their last days. Along with eight bedrooms, one for each resident, there is a living room with a piano and comfortable chairs and sofas. The dining room has a table large enough for family and friends to join together for a meal, and the big, sunny kitchen is open around the clock. Sarah House partners with a local medical hospice organization to support the medical needs of each resident.
More recently, with the advent of powerful new medications, the mortality rate for people with AIDS dropped dramatically. Sarah House responded by expanding services to offer end-of-life care for the low income and homeless of the Santa Barbara community — many of whom are left alone at end of life.
Click here for more information about Sarah House, or call 805.682.1515.
— Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.