Eshewing a glamorous party to celebrate her inauguration, Mayor Annise Parker and her inaugural committee hosted a low-key reception at the Houston Food Bank Thursday night to highlight the plight of feeding the hungry in a booming, prosperous city.
"The first inauguration, we had a big outdoor party (at Discovery Green). The second inauguration, I had a nice reception to show off the Ideson (the newly-renovated Houston Public Library Julia Ideson Building)," Parker said. "This time, I wanted to send a message that not everybody is enjoying the benefits of this economy. We need to give back."
Amid the industrial surroundings in a meeting room with concrete floors and stark white walls, spirits were high as the mayor — in her third and final term — was surrounded by several hundred supporters who took turns hugging her and posing for cell-phone photos.
"This time, I wanted to send a message that not everybody is enjoying the benefits of this economy. We need to give back."
"Two years ago I made a commitment to homelessness, and I reiterated that commitment today," Parker said, referring to her inauguration speech. "Part of addressing homelessness is making sure that people have enough to eat every day, and most of the people that the Food Bank serves actually have homes, many of them have jobs, but they can't put enough food on the table to sustain themselves. In one of the richest cities in the richest country on earth, we ought to do a better job."
Attendees were asked to donate to the Houston Food Bank. The final amount is still being tallied, but it includes a $5,000 donation by AT&T.
Several city council members, including Stephen Costello, Jack Christie, Michael Kubosh, Jerry Davis and Ed Gonzalez, were on hand, along with U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and her daughter, Harris County Board of Education trustee Erica Lee, and Texas State Reps. Carol Alvarado and Gene Wu.
Also in the crowd were AT&T regional vice president Alice Aanstoos, Houston Food Bank president Brian Greene, Leila Perrin, Morris Fountain, Bob Ryan, Tom Conry, Bart Truxillo, Kim Padgett, Olivia Arena, Noah Horwitz, Wayne Klotz, Dale Conger, Cindy Clifford, Leisa Holland-Nelson, Minnette Boesel, Dalton DeHart and stylist Helen Perry, who helped Parker pick out the chic winter white jacket by Lafayette 148 designer Edwin Wilkerson that the mayor wore during the swearing-in ceremony at the Wortham Center earlier in the day.