Team mascots and cheerleaders joined community at fundraiser;
all proceeds will help homeless families in Harford County.
On Saturday, August 29 Harford County residents put aside preferences in sports, donned team colors and came together to help homeless families at the Harford Family House (HFH) ”Bird’s Ball.” The annual gala and fundraiser for the non-profit organization was held at The Water’s Edge Event Center in Belcamp and featured a sports theme which was accented by the appearance of the Oriole Bird mascot and Bay Hawks’ cheerleaders. The $64,000 raised will support HFH’s important work as the largest provider of emergency and transitional housing for homeless families in Harford County.
Guests of the Bird’s Ball Gala were invited to wear orange and purple–the colors of the two best-known birds of Baltimore, the Orioles and the Ravens. The colors were also incorporated in the room decorations and centerpieces. Many guests used accessories in those signature shades, such as shoes, ties, hats and jewelry, to show their team pride. Notable attendees included Jeffrey Griffin, Director of the Governor’s Office of Service and Volunteerism representing Governor Larry Hogan; Debi Glassman, representing Harford County Executive Barry Glassman; Harford County Councilman Curtis Beulah and his wife Jean; Harford County Councilman Patrick Vincenti and his wife Jeannie; Harford County Director of Housing and Community Development Len Parrish and his wife Andrea; and Aberdeen Mayor Michael Bennett.
Guests were greeted by two Bay Hawks cheerleaders who posed for professional photos courtesy of Terri Lynn Heppner. Once inside, additional photo opportunities were available with the Orioles mascot as well as inside the “Tap Snap” photo booth, which used a green screen to superimpose guests on the cover of Harford Style magazine or as part of a painting, among other options. Additional activities included the on-site creation of sports-themed artwork by local artist Shawn Forton, a silent auction featuring some of his limited edition pieces, a cigar bar and a signature drinks bar, featuring “Purple Passion” and “Orange Crush” cocktails. Guests also enjoyed a full dinner and dancing to the sounds of the Panama band.
Another highlight of the evening was the video that shared the story of former Harford Family House client, “Jessica.” In the video, she tells how she came to be a homeless mom of two young daughters and how the staff and programs at Harford Family House helped her get back on her feet. That included the generous gift of a new car, arranged by Steve Smeltzer of Jones Junction, after it was discovered that she was walking more than four miles each way, in all kinds of weather, to get to her job and to daycare with her children. Jessica herself then took the stage and spoke about the way her life has changed thanks to Harford Family House. Many in the audience were moved to tears by the presentation; the video is available to view here.
Joyce Duffy, Harford Family House Executive Director/CEO, said of the fundraiser, “What a fun and colorful evening! The creative ways guests showed their team pride with orange and purple was really amazing. And I am equally amazed by the ongoing generosity of our community in supporting the work of Harford Family House. Many thanks to our sponsors and to everyone who attended and helped make the Bird’s Ball one of our best events. Your contributions will make a tremendous difference in the lives of Harford County’s homeless families.”
In addition to presenting sponsor Jones Junction, other sponsors included: Platinum Sponsor, Ally Financial; Gold Sponsor, Auto Plus; Silver Sponsors, Chesapeake Employers Insurance, Harford Financial Group, Harford Mutual Insurance, TNJ Painting & Drywall, Restore Rehabilitation, Zurich Insurance, United Way of Central MD, Pat’s Pizzeria of Edgewood, Saxon’s Diamond Center, and Aberdeen Rotary; Bronze Sponsors, People’s Bank, Aberdeen Proving Ground Federal Credit Union, Gordon Feinblatt, LLC, Freedom Federal Credit Union, PDP Group, Inc., Intellivoice, The Kelly Group, and M&T Bank; and Banner Sponsors, Michael Euler, Patient First, Snee, Mahoney, Lutche & Helmlinger, and Gemcraft Homes.
About Harford Family House (http://www.harfordfamilyhouse.org/)
Harford Family House is the largest provider of transitional housing for homeless families with children in Harford County. Other programs include Emergency Shelter for families and HUD Supportive Housing for homeless families where one family member has a disability. Clients are provided with a fully furnished apartment or house and receive case management services and referrals to partner agencies to move them from homelessness and hopelessness to hope and independence.