St. Vincent Meals on Wheels (SVMOW), the largest, privately funded senior nutrition program in the country, staged their second annual “Hollywood Under the Stars” fundraiser, on the Paramount Studios lot on Saturday, June 24th.
The event got underway with the Veuve Clicquot VIP reception once again sponsored by longtime SVMOW volunteers and supporters Nancy Babka and Carla Garrett. Nancy and her wife Carla have been friends to the St. Vincent Meals on Wheels organization for many years. Their generosity and compassion help fulfill the SVMOW mission to serve the poor and frail in our City of Angels.
The event also paid tribute to actor Martin Sheen, who has supported St. Vincent Meals on Wheels, along with other philanthropic organizations such as the St. Joseph Center, the St. Francis Center and the Malibu Labor Exchange, with the “Vincent’s Heart Award”, presented by Sister Chris Maggi, Daughter of Charity, whose order established St. Vincent Meals on Wheels over 45 years ago. The Award takes its name from the order’s founder, St. Vincent de Paul, in recognition of Sheen’s “standing in solidarity with those who have been forgotten and discounted.”
Sheen, veteran star of film and television, urged the 400 plus crowd to “look into their hearts and find something worth fighting for, to unite the will of the spirit with the work of the flesh, in that action, you will find your authentic self.”New this year was the designation of Host Angel Chef Isaias Peña, Caruso Regional Executive Chef of Hank’s and Qué Padre in Palisades Village who served as the event’s culinary ambassador and high dollar event sponsor.
Longtime supporter Rick Llanos served as the event’s honorary host. “Growing up in Windsor Square I was lucky enough to stay close to my family and eventually start a career in real estate,” noted Llanos, adding, “I’ve been involved with SVMOW as a Junior Advisory Board member, where we created new, inventive ways to expand SVMOW’s reach, such as our Cart for a Cause food truck as well as our Cart for a Cause Cookbook. More recently, I’m an active member with SVMOW, participating in many of our wonderful events, always spreading the word on all the amazing work SVMOW does.”
The organization partnered with nearly a dozen top Angeleno chefs and patissiers to present a gourmet, chef-curated evening of tastings, complemented by a live, 10-piece band presented by de Bois All Stars for dancing under the night sky.
In addition to Peña, among the chefs and restaurateurs on hand preparing some of their signature savory dishes were Chef Gino Angelini of Angelini Osteria, Chef/owner Nika Shoemaker-Machado of Georgia’s Restaurant, Chef Robert Fry of Evil Twin, owned by Dylan Weiss and Chef George Huynh of Smoke City Char Bar, Chef Raphael Francois’ rustic French charmer Tesse, contemporary Indian hot spot Arth Bar + Kitchen and Westwood Village favorite, Wolfsglen. Rounding out the gustatory line-up were select desserts such as Etoile Filante Patisserie’s one of-a-kind macarons, John Hensley of Lark Cake Shop who presented his handcrafted baked goods, Läderach Chocolatier Suisse and pastry chef Elfie Astier of Hotcakes Bakes.
“Despite the challenging circumstances over the past couple years and a growing list of clients who need meals, we have been able to fulfill our mission and increase the number of hungry, isolated neighbors we serve, thanks to the generosity of our supporters, as well as the volunteers who assist us in carrying it out,” noted SVMOW Executive Director Veronica Dover, adding, “this night is a celebration of our community and the local chefs who help us shine.”
The gala celebration at the famed studio was presented in collaboration with the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, who are celebrating 100 years of the iconic Hollywood sign.
In addition to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and Chef Isaias Peña’s Hank’s and Qué Padre, generous corporate and community sponsors included Delta Dental, US Bank, Wallis Annenberg GenSpace, Albertsons/Vons Foundation, Toyota Motors, Paramount, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Batjac Productions, Filipino American Chamber of Commerce (FACC-GLA), Voya Financial, Fidelity Investments, and long-standing supporters Nancy Babka and Carla Garrett and Rick Llanos & Nelly Llanos Kilroy.
For more information about St. Vincent Meals on Wheels, please visit www.svmow.org