‘Love Is in the Air’ for Friendship Center’s Festival of Hearts Virtual Fundraiser
Friendship Center recently wound down its 22nd annual Festival of Hearts virtual event themed “Love Is in the Air” to raise funds for its HEART (Help Elders at Risk Today) program, which subsidizes the cost of adult day services for low-income aging and dependent adults and their families.
Since the first Festival of Hearts in 2000, the event’s centerpiece has been the “heart art” sold at its silent auction. Provided with a blank three-dimensional papier-mâché heart, the inventive “heart-ists” paint, sculpt and decorate in myriad ways to create their unique works.
The heart behind this effort is “head heart wrangler” Sharon Morrow, a volunteer and artist herself who collects, coordinates and catalogues the heart art. Morrow is assisted by her Heart Posse, including Vicky Garske, Cheryl Guthrie, Jack Hewett, Janice Meaden (all artists themselves) and others, many who have volunteered with Morrow for eight to nine years.
“I have been the head heart wrangler for 14 years,” Morrow said. “I am wildly enthusiastic about the job, and I can’t wait until next year!”
This year was more challenging to wrangle hearts as some artists have not been going into their studios because of COVID-19, or they just haven’t felt as inspired. In all, 55 hearts were created.
“What was my most memorable heart? That is a difficult question as I love the project so much. All are so overwhelming to me,” Morrow told Noozhawk. “The year that actor Jeff Bridges was in the movie ‘Crazy Heart’ was very coincidental. His heart sold for $700. Artist Matt Lum made an exquisite heart that he had pre-sold for $3,000 — all donated to Friendship Center.”
With locations in Montecito and Goleta, Friendship Center offers activities that promote socialization, well-being and a sense of community for aging adults. The center provides respite, support and education for caregivers, enabling them to achieve balance in their lives.
There is still an opportunity to help the fundraiser by “sponsoring” a vulnerable senior for $200 for a one-month subscription to Friendship Center’s virtual activities and programs. It’s a direct donation for the HEART program.
“At this time, we are doing virtual services so the sponsorship of a senior for a month includes virtual activities, check-ins, Take Care Totes, which include food items, activities, personal hygiene items, drive-ins, etc.,” Friendship Center Executive Director Heidi Holly told Noozhawk. “Once we open up for on-site services, we will be providing meals. The more members you sponsor, the more seniors get to participate! Thank you for giving from the heart for our seniors!”
The 2021 sponsors included the Santa Barbara Home Improvement Center and Gary Simpson, Union Bank, Noozhawk, Jackie Quinn and Quinn Fiduciary Services, Boone Graphics, First American Title Co., Matt Lum, Nate Cultice of Castle Wealth, John and Gloria McManus, Sally Hall, Al Anglin and Vangie Herrera, Penny Mathison and Don Nulty, David and Louise Borgatello, Karolyn Hanna, Pat Forgey, Zen Spaces (previously Garcia Architects), Kenneth and Frances Jewesson, Kathy Marden and Pamela Vander Heide, Marty Moore, Mary Walsh, Dana and Randy Vandermey, Sue Adams and Marcella Simmons, Janet and Harvey Wolf, Quinn Sellars, and the Mossaad family.
Friendship Center provides activities and programs designed to honor individuality, promote socialization and foster a compassionate community for aging adults. Caregivers receive respite support and education. The nonprofit organization provides compassionate, person-centered, and engaging daytime programs for seniors with dementia and other cognitive decline.
— Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.