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Friendship Center of Santa Barbara ‘Wines Down’ with Annual Fundraiser

Festive courtyard gathering features food and beverage samplings amid the sounds of the Montecito Jazz Project

[Click here for a Noozhawk photo gallery from the event.]

Who: Fourth Annual Wine Down by Friendship Center of Santa Barbara

What: A benefit to support the expansion of Friendship Center's services and healthy aging programs

When: Friday, Aug. 23, 2013

Where: Friendship Adult Day Care Center, 89 Eucalyptus Lane in Montecito

As summer winds down, the Friendship Center of Santa Barbara took advantage of the cooler evenings for its fourth annual Wine Down event last week. A sizable crowd gathered in the center’s shady patio courtyard on Eucalyptus Lane in Montecito to enjoy samplings from nine wineries, Island Brewing Co., and hors d'oeuvres and desserts from OmniFresco Catering and other local chefs.

Participating wineries were Buttonwood, Consilience & Tre Anelli, Cottonwood Canyon, Curtis, Fess Parker, Flying Goat, Foxen Winery, Lafond Winery and Palmina. Sponsors included the Charles Bloom Foundation, Dana and Randall VanderMey, Sharon Kennedy Estate Management, Louise and David Borgatello, Boone Graphics, Coastal Home Care & Senior Planning Services, MarBorg Industries, Montecito Bank & Trust, and many others.

The program theme — "Like fine wine, friendship gets better with age" — was evidenced by the easy and familiar camaraderie among the assembled participants, supporters, staff and board members. In fact, board members were very hands-on with their assigned tasks, including board president Marty Moore, who greeted each attendee at the door along with fellow board member Karen Telleen-Lawton. Harvey Wolf, Dr. David Medina, Inge Gatz and board president emerita Mary Walsh helped to pour beverages and with other tasks.

The Friendship Center preserves and enriches the quality of life for aging and dependent adults through interactive programs that value the dignity and worth of every person. It provides respite, support and education, enabling families to continue to be engaged in their community, careers and commitments.

During his remarks, Moore was quick to give grateful credit to All Saints By-the-Sea Episcopal Church and Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Congregation for providing the facilities at their respective locations in Montecito and Goleta. The centers are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday to provide day programs for loved ones to attend during the day, giving respite for family members and caregivers. Participants are those who require supervision during the day, have physical or mental limitations, and may be socially isolated or lonely. The Friendship Center offers socialization, mental and physical stimulation, a safe and secure facility, and professional and caring staff.

“When I think of Friendship Center I am inspired," Moore said. "In my visits here I get to see the wonders that happen. I see a youth volunteer visiting with a grandmother and how much happiness that brings."

Added Gatz: “I have done it all here—volunteer, staff and now board member. I started getting involved in 1986. I love this place. Each participant is recognized as an individual; there is dignity here.”

Elder advocate and celebrity spokesperson Rona Barrett also addressed the audience.

“I live in Santa Ynez where Valley Haven was founded in 1986 and inspired by the Friendship Center," she said. "If it hadn’t been for an adult day-care center I don’t know what I would have done when I was dealing with my father’s illness. It was a lifesaver for me and for my father’s other caregivers. There are so many orphaned seniors — more adult day centers like this are needed.”

The Montecito Jazz Project provided background music during the food and beverage samplings and silent auction bidding. Stephen Meade was the live auctioneer and helped to raise more funds for the good cause. Auction donors included Aldo’s Italian Restaurant, Firestone Vineyards, Kalyra Winery, Salt Cave, Seven Bar & Kitchen, Zoe Iverson, Summerland Winery, Sunstone Winery, Whitcraft Winery, Amara Spa By the Sea and Kristen Hoye.

Friendship Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and enhancing its members’ lives by focusing on abilities, strengths, experiences and knowledge. Click here for more information, or call 805.969.0859.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkSociety. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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