Wine Women & Shoes
Gleaners Fundraiser Pulls Out All the Stops to Raise Money for Youth Hunger Programs
Writer: Suzanne Huntzinger
Photographer: Ron Wise
It’s time for the fifth Annual Wine Women & Shoes Event Benefiting Gleaners Food Bank Indiana Youth Programs. The Gleaners fundraiser and massive shopping extravaganza will be held May 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m, at the Lucas Estate in Carmel, 1143 116th Street Carmel, IN.
Wine Women and Shoes is a nationwide fundraising concept introduced in the Indy area almost five years ago. Last year’s Gleaners Wine Women & Shoes raised more than $345,000. This year, Gleaners is aiming for $400,000 – enough to provide 1.2 million meals.
That sounds like a lot of money, but one in five Hoosier children does not have enough to eat. That’s why Wine Women & Shoes raises funds to support Gleaners’ Youth Programs. Three programs make up the youth hunger initiative — BackSacks, School-Based Pantries and Summer Meals for Kids.
BackSacks’ Weekend Food for Kids is designed for elementary aged children who may not have enough to eat between school lunch on Friday and breakfast on Monday. Meals are kid friendly, easy to open and require no cooking.
School-Based Pantries operates in 53 schools, two of which are in Hamilton County. These pantries provide food for students and their families. Some are open year-round.
The Summer Meals for Kids program has two components, Summer BackSacks and Family Meal Boxes.
Tickets for the event are already on sale. The price is $200 each and gets you into a fun experience, including wine tasting, delicious food bites and unique shopping opportunities. A variety of vendors will be there featuring their merchandise including clothing, jewelry, perfume, beauty products and much more.
Plenty of other fundraising opportunities await at the event. Shoe Guys, a crowd favorite, will once again be on hand at the event. More than 20 local guys who are local celebrities, business owners and community leaders, have each committed to raising at least $2,500. The goal for the entire group is $50,000. Guests and fans can vote for their favorite shoe guy and donate to help him win. The Shoe Guy who raises the most will be named “Sole Man of the Year.” The Shoe Guy who receives the highest number of donations is crowned Mr. Congeniality. Not only will the Shoe Guys be mingling to get donations and votes, they’ll be on hand to serve guests wine or other refreshments and highlight merchandise for sale.
“It’s a great cause and a fun way to get involved and give back,” says Shoe Guy and Lake City Bank Branch Manager, Whitney Hamilton, Jr. “I’m amazed at the number of kids affected by hunger, especially during the summer.”
Hamilton says he’s a formidable competitor and he plans on going head to head with fellow Shoe Guy and racecar driver, Kristian Aleixo.
“He keeps talking smack, but I’m very competitive and I’m going to beat him, hands down,” Aleixo vows. “But mostly, I want to raise money to bring more attention to childhood hunger. I can relate to it, because after my mom passed when I was 13, I was homeless until age 18.”
While some Shoe Guys prepare to duke it out in a little friendly competition, one Shoe Guy is doing it for the love of fundraising.
“I love fundraising. I’ve been involved in non-profits in one way or another for years now,” says President/CEO of the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Jeff McDermott. “I’m always amazed at the generosity of people. We’re so fortunate to live in such a generous community.”
The Shoe Guys aren’t the only attraction. Besides all the great shopping, there will be lots of other exciting opportunities to win great prizes.
“Guests look forward to some of the same traditions every year for the event, but we keep it fresh by offering new and creative opportunities to engage the guests and raise money,” says Debbie Dreiband, Gleaners Strategic Events and Sponsorships Director.
Wine is the first name in the event’s title, and guests won’t have to work hard to find it. The Wall of Wine, literally a wall stacked with bottles of wine, offers guests a chance to win a fine bottle of wine. Guests can purchase a ticket for $25 to choose a bottle which could be valued anywhere from $25 to $500. Guests can also play to win the Moyer Fine Jewelry Key to the Closet. Purchase a key for $100 and see if your key opens the closet. The person with the winning key gets everything in the closet.
Several auction items will be up for grabs, too. Bid to win dinner with the fire department, including dessert and surprises. Bid online before May 11 to win transportation to the event and a fabulous VIP beauty package from Saks Fifth Avenue to get you ready for the event.
“That’s sure to be a popular item, because the transportation is in a Tesla Model X and Saks is providing their Trish McEvoy beauty experts,” Dreiband says.
Gleaners is grateful to the many sponsors who’ve lent their support and generosity, like Saks Fifth Avenue Indianapolis, who extends its resources immeasurably every year.
“Each Saks Fifth Avenue store is very involved with supporting their local charities,” says Curtis Spaulding, General Manager of Saks Fifth Avenue Indianapolis, “I’m happy to say that Saks Indianapolis has been supporting the Gleaners Wine Women & Shoes charity since its inception. The great work that Gleaners does in Central and Southern Indiana by touching so many people who need a hand up is applause worthy.”
Get your tickets at gleaners.org/events/wine-women- shoes/.
“Only 500 tickets are available, so get yours now,” Dreiband says.
For more information, contact Debbie Dreiband email@example.com, or call 317-829-1769.