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iSociety: Rochelle Rose

Supporters of the beloved Friendship Center gathered Feb. 8 for “Deep In the Heart of Friendship,” a festive, Western-themed luncheon held at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort. Now in its 15th year, this Festival of Hearts fundraiser benefits H.E.A.R.T. (Help Elders At Risk Today), which allows senior programs to remain available to all in need, regardless of income limitations.

Roving Western troubadour and guitarist Agris Petersons warmed up the crowd, and a couple of male guests joined in for impromptu group singing sessions! Gracious hotel staff generously poured Fess Parker wines. The Heart-Art silent auction and live auction benefited the Friendship Center, based at All Saints By-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Montecito with a second center operating in Goleta.

The seaside Reagan Room and foyer provided the setting for the sale of unique heart-themed, silent-auction items. Heart Art was contributed by local artists as well as celebrities, including Crazy Heart cowboy Jeff Bridges, Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus and entertainment maven and senior advocate Rona Barrett. The live auction included vacation getaways, wine tasting, beauty packages and lunch with Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider.

Party favors, a much-anticipated feature of the luncheon, were placed on each table. Guests selected from beautiful hand-decorated papier-mâché hearts created by local art students. My heart was created by a student at San Marcos High School — where my son attends!

Emcee and auctioneer Gail Rappaport had the audience laughing and bidding at the lunchtime live auction.

“Remember, Heart-Art makes perfect Valentine’s gifts for your sweetheart,” she told the crowd.

Friendship Center executive director Heidi Holly told Noozhawk that organizers “hope to raise $60,000 today.” With the enthusiastic bidding, it appeared that goal could easily be surpassed.

“Your presence here today makes my heart happy,” Holly said. “I want to recognize in a special way All Saints By-the-Sea Episcopal Church, which has provided a home for the Center for 35 years.”

Montecitan Dana Newquist accepted a special award for the late Andy Granatelli, who was a strong supporter of the Friendship Center.

“My friend, Andy, loved this organization,” he said. “I accept this award on behalf of the Granatelli family.”

The lunch menu reflected a Western theme with roasted chicken and a tasty barbecue sauce and country roasted potatoes. Valentine dessert gifts were contributed by Robitaille’s Candies and Our Daily Bread. Sue Adams headed up the event committee with the help of Kathy Marden, board president Marty Moore, Marti Correa-Garcia, Justine Sutton, Sharon Morrow, Harvey Wolf, Inge Gatz, Kathy Marden, Dana VanderMay, Karolyn Hanna and others.

Sponsors at the Gold Heart level included Nancy and Thomas Crawford Jr., HUB International Insurance Services, MarBorg Industries and Union Bank. Silver Heart sponsors included Louise and David Borgatello, Cal-Western & Pacific Tree, Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, LivHOME and Montecito Bank & Trust.

Other sponsors included Susan and John Hanna, Penny Mathison and Don Nulty, Dana and Randall VanderMey, Boone Graphics, Casa Dorinda, Castle Wealth Planning, Coastal Home Care & Senior Planning Services, Garcia Architects Inc., Inge Gatz and Steven Gilbar, Sally Hall, Media 27, Sue Adams, Crosby & Associates, Karolyn Hanna, Vangie Herrera and Al Anglin, Ken and Francie Jewesson, McCormix Corp., Maravilla Senior Living Community, Dixie and Marty Moore, PlanMember Financial Group, Barbara and Bruce Scollin, Venoco Inc., Villa Alamar, Mary Walsh, Janet and Harvey Wolf, and others.

Proceeds from the event support Friendship Center’s H.E.A.R.T. (Help Elders At Risk Today) Program, subsidizing the cost of adult day services for low-income, aging and dependent adults and their families providing respite, support and education.

Click here for more information about the Friendship Center visit, or contact Justine Sutton at 805.969.0859 or justine@friendshipcentersb.org. Click here to make an online donation.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at rrose@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.