An Evening with Healthy Start – A Great Success!

On Thursday, January 21, Sarasota Architectural Salvage hosted “An Evening with Healthy Start”, the first major fundraising event effort by the Healthy Start Coalition.

The Equines kicked off the night with their rendition of “It’s my party” as guests lined up at the door to get inside. 74 event patrons purchased their tickets in advance, while 27 purchased theirs at the door, and 35 guests used complimentary “VIP” passes.  We were grateful to have sold so many advance tickets; the gloomy weather could have dramatically lessened our attendance.

Fortunately, the weather held out and the rain never came!  Guests flooded in and were greeted by Healthy Start Executive Director Jennifer Highland, MomCare advisor Teri Endres, and MomCare supervisor Anne Muir.  At the registration table, guests were given information about Healthy Start programs and volunteer opportunities, and encouraged to sign up for our E-Newsletter.

Event coordinator Ciera Galbraith made an announcement welcoming guests and thanking our generous sponsors – and we had a LOT to thank! Gold Coast Eagle Distributers provided 5 cases of beer and cider; Executive Board member Kitty Cranor sponsored 5 cases of wine; Michael’s on East, Poki Joe’s, Carr’s Corner Café, and Publix all catered food; Buddha Belly Donuts provided brownies and donut holes for the delicious chocolate fountain, and Sweetbay Supermarkets sponsored utensils for the food stations.

Ciera also announced our raffle and silent auctions, and thanked those sponsors. The prize item of the silent auction was a beautiful heart pendant necklace donated by world-famous jewelry designer, Ned Bowman, valued at $985. The silent auction also featured a spa package from Lourdes Salon (and Equines singer, Erin Murphy), a 1-hour massage by Lewis Pompii, and adorable baby “bouncies” donated by European Focus. We made a total of $575 from the silent auction! The raffle was also a great success, with items donated by Morton’s Market, The Fresh Market, Sarasota Candle Company, Lonjevity Café and Bar, and Sarasota Architectural Salvage. Raffle Tickets were sold at $2 each or 6 for $10. We collected almost $200 from raffle ticket sales!

Our executive director, Jennifer Highland, then spoke for a few moments about the importance of an organization like Healthy Start in Sarasota County, and shared some shocking statistics about fetal death, c-section, and breastfeeding rates.  Jenna Norwood, our Executive Board Co-Chair, also spoke a few moments encouraging guests to become involved and donate to such a worthy cause.

Back at the bar area set up in the back, Administrative Assistant Miryan McDonald, Education Coordinator Tiffany Prater, and Contract Manager Janice Baxter worked tirelessly to serve guests drinks for the evening. Patrons were encouraged to give tips at the bar that would be counted as donations toward Healthy Start – and we made over $400 in donations from tips alone!

The band played on through the evening while guests mingled and enjoyed the great food and beverages. Our poster model, 1 year old Selena Marie Akal, was in attendance and captured the hearts of everyone there.

Don Daly Photography donated photography for the evening, and got some great shots! Photos can be viewed online at

The evening was overall a great success and we would like to thank all who contributed, sponsored, and attended. We raised over $2700 for Healthy Start, surpassing our goal for the night!

We are already looking ahead toward next year’s event and ways to make it even better.



This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>