Among the many celebrities lending their support were Alan Cumming (“The Good Wife”), Darren Star (creator of “Sex and the City”), Gilles Marini (“Dancing with the Stars – All Stars”), Susan Blakely (“Southland”)
One of last year’s honorees Dante Di Loreto (Producer, “Glee”) returned to the event and brought along the star of his new show, “The New Normal,” Grammy winner Andrew Rannells (“Book of Mormon) as the evening’s entertainment. Also present were Project Angel Food founder Marianne Williamson and co-founder David Kessler.
It is estimated that the evening will have raised enough to pay for 70,000 meals (the average cost for Project Angel Food to produce a meal is $5) that will be home-delivered to the organization’
The evening began on a fashionable note. As guests checked in, they were given a beaded bracelet featuring an angel wing to wear in place of a neon-colored security wristband. The winged bracelets, which are assembled by Project Angel Food volunteers, are a recent fundraising endeavor by the organization. They have been dubbed “Feed Beads” because the purchase of one at $5 provides the funding for one meal. Mila Hermanovski of “Project Runway” fame, later remarked that the bracelet would also serve as “a lovely memento” of a meaningful night.
Guests were treated to signature cocktails and hors d'oeuvres as they perused and bid on the many items available through the evening’s Silent Auction. With the sun setting, guests began filing into the elegantly transformed dinner space (by day a narrow parking lot) as they were treated to the sounds of the Harvard Yardbirds, the university’s acclaimed alumni a cappella group. After the delicious dinner which was prepared in Project Angel Food’s kitchen by their volunteers and chefs and featured produce grown in their community garden, the evening’s program began with a welcome from Project Angel Food’s Board Chair, Robin Fujimoto. The Rev. Kathy Cooper-Ledesma next presented Pauley Perrette with the Marianne Williamson Founder’s Award. In accepting the honor Perrette thanked her friends, cast mates and her network, CBS, for their support. She noted that on “NCIS,” her character now volunteers with Habitat for Humanity as she encouraged the audience to be role models for today’s youth by living by example. She joked that TMZ once posed the question, “We always see you coming out of charity events?” Her reply, “That’s the point.”
To better explain what Project Angel Food does and the direct impact its services can have on an individual, Margaret Steele, CEO of the organization, took the stage to introduce Calvin Garland, a Vietnam veteran and former client, who spoke movingly of how the daily meal service saved his life. A welcome respite was next provided by “That Auction Girl” Vanessa Thanos who oversaw the fast and furious bidding on several luxury items and also holiday meal sponsorships. Grammy winner and Tony nominee Andrew Rannells (“The Book of Mormon”) wowed the crowd with a few standards including a beautiful rendition of Stephen Sondheim’s “What Can You Lose?” made famous by Madonna in the film “Dick Tracy.”
The evening concluded with Alan Cumming presenting Chris Salgardo, President of Kiehl’s, with the Visionary Angel Award. Salgardo who has long been committed to Project Angel Food’s work, both personally and professionally, said it was the loss of a close friend to AIDS in the 90s that inspired him to do what he could to make a difference. And he certainly has done so. Under Salgardo’s leadership, Kiehl’s has raised millions of dollars for HIV/AIDS organizations, children’s charities and environmental organizations. Salgardo is also the founder of Kiehl’s LifeRide and Kiehl’s Desert Run, motorcycle rides akin to AIDSRide, which raise money for the American Foundation for AIDS Research.
Founded in 1989 by Marianne Williamson, Project Angel Food, with help from professional chefs and local volunteers, delivered its 8 millionth meal in 2012.
Video highlights from the evening can be seen at :