15th Annual Wine & Dine event to benefit local seniors
By Esther Rubio-Sheffrey |Downtown News
Attendees of the 15th Annual Wine & Dine fundraiser will be stepping into the roaring 1920s and reliving the debauchery of the prohibition era on Saturday, April 21. Dressing and acting the part of a gangster, flapper or a silent film star while placing bets inside the “secret speakeasy” are all part of the yearly money-raising event, which benefits the San Diego nonprofit, ElderHelp.
Held at the Westin Gaslamp Quarter hotel, the event features samples of premier wines, beers, prohibition-era cocktails and cuisine from some of the City’s finest restaurants, as well as a silent auction, wine raffle and live entertainment.
Michelle Metter, partner at Fast Forward Event Productions, was charged with producing this year’s event and said attendees will appreciate the theme, as it lends itself to many creative possibilities. “It fits right in with the Westin’s new remodel and we think Wine & Dine’s repeat attendees will enjoy the new space,” she said. Fast Forward Event Productions is producing this year’s event, with more than 30 exhibitors participating.
Metter said attendees can expect great food from local eateries and wineries such as, Nobu San Diego, Urban Solace, Eclipse Chocolat, Michael David Winery, ONEHOPE Wine and Callaway Vineyard & Winery.
“In addition to the wine assortments, theatre and museum tickets and gift cards to San Diego’s top restaurants, the auction [features] some high-end prizes, like a one-week trip for two to Wyoming, an overnight night stay at Sycuan Casino (meals included), and four club house season passes to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club,” Metter said, “but the most important thing is the cause behind the event.”
ElderHelp is a San Diego-based non-profit organization. Since 1973, they have supported the city’s senior population by providing support that ensures they remain independent and live with dignity in their own homes. Last year, ElderHelp assisted nearly 5,000 seniors throughout the county.
Leane Marchese, executive director of ElderHelp, has been with the organization for ten years. She explained that by working with several hospitals and senior-based services throughout the area, ElderHelp is able to target the seniors with the fewest resources and the least support. With the help of dozens of volunteers, seniors receive care through a variety of ways, Marchese said.
“Sometimes it is about helping the senior get to and from doctor appointments, or the grocery store,” Marchese said. “Other times it is about visiting and spending time with them, and, when necessary, help with household duties or gardening.” She said volunteers make a minimum one-year commitment and go through a rigorous screening process. Staff members hold weekly meetings, during which they match seniors and volunteers based on a variety of points, such as personalities, favorite activities and location.
“About half of our volunteers have been with the program for more than eight years,” Marchese said. “Some of them are still with the same senior they were paired with originally. Others have helped someone who has passed, but found the time rewarding enough to return and work with someone else.”
The Wine & Dine events provide a large part of ElderHelp’s annual budget, providing unrestricted funds to pay for services and daily operational costs not covered by grants. Last year the event raised close to $100,000 and Marchese said she is hopeful this year’s event will surpass that mark.
“It’s a wonderful gift to be able to give back to our growing senior community, helping them live comfortably for [their] remaining years,” Fast Forward’s Metter said. “We all have parents and grandparents, so it’s truly a cause that everyone can relate to.”
The Westin Gaslamp Quarter is located at 910 Broadway Circle. Wine & Dine tickets are available online, and the tax-deductible ticket is $150 per person in advance and $200 at the door. Additional information and tickets can be found at winedinesd.com or by calling 619-694-4862.