PALM SPRINGS (CNS) – The AIDS Assistance Program-Food Samaritans will bring back its “Evening Under the Stars” fundraising party Saturday after a three-year hiatus due to issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For the 30th Anniversary of the event, we are bringing it back to our roots and having a celebration in one of the most spectacular estates in Palm Springs, with abundant food and drink and a ticket price more in line with our grassroots nature: $200,” AAP – Food Samaritans CEO and Executive Director Mark Anton said in a statement.
The garden party fundraiser will be held at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Old Palmas home of Brad Lampley and Rigo Lomeli, according to AAP officials. The event will feature a special guest appearance by Lily Tomlin, a hosted bar, hors d’oeuvres by Eight4Nine, entertainment and valet parking.
Anton said in a statement last year that he made the difficult decision to cancel the 2022 gala due to supply chain issues. He said he would honor refund requests but encouraged ticket holders to donate tickets to allow the organization to continue doing its work.
“Post COVID, with skyrocketing costs for everything, the event as it had evolved wouldn’t `pencil out’ unless ticket prices were raised to $1,000, which is not sustainable and not us,” Anton said in a statement. “We had to reimagine it.”
The organization’s first fundraising party was held in 1993, two years after AAP was founded, and organized by the Board of Directors to help increase the program’s visibility and entertain the community while simultaneously raising funds to support their mission, according to AAP officials. The first event, which raised enough money to help fund AAP’s growing nutritional support program, started with a simple stage built by volunteers in a donated backyard.
The fundraiser has since become an annual gala event with up to 1,500 guests, a formal seated dinner and world-class entertainment, AAP officials said. It continues to raise funds to help AAP improve lives of low-income people with chronic illnesses and support programs that address food insecurity.
“In 1991, three strong women — Gloria Greene, Jeannette Rockefeller and Joanna Jakway — created AIDS Assistance Program,” Anton said. “We celebrate them and our humble beginnings with this reinvented `Evening Under the Stars.”‘
Additionally in celebration of the nonprofit organization’s supporters, a Community Impact Award will be presented to Nelda Linsk and Lori and Aubrey Serfling for their “longstanding partnerships with us and all they do in the community,” Anton added.
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