Scene & Heard: Santa Claus Anonymous
( Photo by Colby Ware, Special to The Baltimore Sun / November 20, 2011 )
Bob Booker, Santa Claus Anonymous Wine and Beer Tasting co-chair, watched as hundreds of guests filled the lobby of Timonium's Crowne Plaza. For Booker, a board member for 30 years, the 20-year-old event was only one indicator of the organization's growth.
"We started [in 1934] ... as a Baltimore City-based charity for needy children at Christmas. It helped about 450 children. Fifteen years ago, we made a decision to expand it to surrounding counties. This year, we helped 11,000 kids. And, we've raised over $15 million [since the organization started]," Booker said.
For Jim Russell, former board member, the reason he has been involved as a Santa Claus Anonymous volunteer and donor the past 25 years is a very personal one.
"I ... was a recipient of Santa Claus Anonymous. I grew up in a Baltimore City housing project. And it was a big deal. It was a big, big deal," Russell said.
As for the guests, it was a great time to give -- and to receive, as they browsed various food and drink stations to sample wines, beers and nibble on hors d'oeuvres.
Steve Geppi, Diamond Comics CEO, enjoyed his first Santa Claus Anonymous experience with daughter Gina Geppi, Tatu Baltimore sales manager, and Dayna Wilde, Power Plant Live sales manager.
"I'm a big fan of this organization. It's a great night and everybody has a good time," Gina Geppi said.
Heidi Klotzman, HeidnSeek Entertainment founder/CEO, attended the party with friends Analeigh Smith and Christina Forsting, Living Classrooms Foundation development associates.
"You can never get enough wine and beer," said Smith.
"And also support a good cause," said Forsting.
-- Sloane Brown
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