12th annual Rays of Hope Gala a success

On Wednesday evening, May 13, about 400 community leaders, generous donors and loyal supporters gathered together for a singular purpose: to raise funds for the Pacific House emergency men’s homeless shelter, located at 597 Pacific Street in Stamford. The 12th annual Rays of Hope Gala, hosted by Shelter for the Homeless, was held at the Italian Center of Stamford.

Guests were treated to an exciting 1950s themed event, complete with music, dinner, dancing, live and silent auctions, a short film and even a video ‘shout out’ all the way from Australia by Olivia Newton-John herself. Emmy Award winning investigative journalist Chris Hansen was the Master of Ceremonies, and the 2015 Rays of Hope Volunteer Award was presented to Dr. Sandi Mond for her work in establishing the David Mond Leadership Group. Dr. Mond then presented the 2015 David Mond Volunteer Award to the Congregational Church of New Canaan for their dedicated service and generous support of the shelter for the past two decades.

“I could not be prouder to be a part of this,” said Chris Hansen. “We live here in Fairfield County, and sometimes we forget that one stumble, one trip, can cause someone to find themselves in a situation needing help.”

In 2014, Pacific House, which is the only regional shelter with overnight emergency beds for men and a drop-in day program for men and women, provided 29,000 ‘shelter nights,’ and served over 53,000 meals. Additionally, job readiness, recovery and outreach programs as well as case management services and medical screenings are offered to help get homeless lives back on track. The daily cost of running the shelter is $5000, approximately half of which must come from private donations, or roughly $1million/year. The Rays of Hope Gala is the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year towards achieving that goal.

“The shelter was a busy place this winter,” said Jim Bosek, Chair of the organization’s Board of Directors. “This event will go a long way to helping support the shelter, that’s open seven days a week, every day of the year.” The sentiment was echoed by Jerome Roberts, Associate Executive Director/Director of Housing Development. “This night represents a new year of hope. Our year begins in July, and the money we raise from this event allows us to start our budget. We need to raise one million dollars, and this night is the beginning.”

When presented with the 2015 Rays of Hope Volunteer Award, Dr. Sandi Mond made an analogy, likening many ‘stream sized’ individual volunteer efforts contribute to a larger ‘river’ of improvement. An accomplished educator, Dr. Mond challenged the area’s youth to take a leadership role in helping homeless individuals and founded the David Mond Leadership Group. Created in 2009, the group was established in memory of Dr. Mond’s late husband David, who was a long-time Pacific House volunteer.

The Congregational Church of New Canaan was recognized with the David Mond Award in honor of their outstanding volunteer and support efforts. Members of the church’s Missions and Social Action Committee have cooked and served meals monthly since 1995, and over that time, the congregation has donated in excess of $200,000 to support Pacific House. Special collections, towel drives, Thanksgiving turkey baskets and assorted gifts for the shelter’s clients are additional examples of the church’s tremendous and unwavering support.

Perhaps the sentiments of the evening are best summed up by attendee Michael A. Alden, “I’m truly honored to be here. Everyone is here to make a positive difference on the lives of others.” Alden was recently named 2015 Broadway Global Producer of the Year, with hits including “On The Town” and “An American In Paris.”

It took many hands to make the evening a success, including a dedicated gala committee headed by Board Member Andrew Reid. Shelter for the Homeless is exceptionally grateful to all of its gala sponsors, especially Orchard Farm Foundation; the Vranos Family Foundation; the Ruth and Hal Launders Charitable Trust; Titan Advisors; Barnum Wealth Management; Chilton Investments; The David Mond Fund; First County Bank; First Niagara Foundation; Greenwich Hospital; Purdue Pharma; Rimrock Capital; Weeden and Co.; the Theodore and Renee Weiler Foundation, as well as individual sponsors: Cliff Berger; Rhoda A. Reid; Marta and John LaRock; Alice Melly; Robin and Paul Mickey; Pat and Bob Phillips; Addie and Brad Powell; Andrew M. Reid; Rich Kandel and media partner Moffly Media.

About Shelter for the Homeless

Shelter for the Homeless is the only regional men’s emergency shelter serving Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan and Darien. Incorporated in 1985, Shelter for the Homeless serves lower Fairfield County by providing food, temporary shelter and an array of support services to homeless men, working to help them to become more self-sufficient and obtain and maintain employment and permanent supportive housing. For additional information visit www.shelterforhomeless.org or call 203-406-0017.

Michael A. Alden (of NYC), recently named 2015 Broadway Global Producer of the Year, signals a thumbs-up to the 12th annual Rays of Hope Gala, hosted by Shelter for the Homeless in support of Pacific House emergency men’s shelter in Stamford. (Diane Garnick of Greenwich is on the left.)

Michael A. Alden (of NYC), recently named 2015 Broadway Global Producer of the Year, signals a thumbs-up to the 12th annual Rays of Hope Gala, hosted by Shelter for the Homeless in support of Pacific House emergency men’s shelter in Stamford. (Diane Garnick of Greenwich is on the left.)

Members of the 12th annual Rays of Hope Gala Committee from left to right: Jim Bosek (Darien), board chair; Andy Reid (Greenwich), committee chair; John LaRock (Darien), board member and Peter DaPuzzo (Riverside), board member.

Members of the 12th annual Rays of Hope Gala Committee from left to right: Jim Bosek (Darien), board chair; Andy Reid (Greenwich), committee chair; John LaRock (Darien), board member and Peter DaPuzzo (Riverside), board member.

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