The Big Blow

Big bubble gum bubbles are a hit at million dollar dinner launching charity's "Pop for Hope" challenge

Million dollar dinner launches Pop for Hope bubble gum challenge

News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Michael Cordua, Kathy Foster, David Cordua
Michael Cordua, left, Kathy Foster and David Cordua. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Sid Suarez, Bill Jones, Lucy Reyes
Sid Suarez, from left, Bill Jones and Lucy Reyes. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Mary Ellen Prochazka, Scott Prochazka
Mary Ellen and Scott Prochazka. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Bruce Wallace, Jaclyn Martin
Bruce Wallace and Jaclyn Martin.  Photo by Daniel Ortiz
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Sasha Thomas, Howard Hill
Sasha Thomas and Howard Hill. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Layne and Jeanne Polocheck, Xan Difede, Jeb Bashaw
Layne and Jeanne Polocheck, from left, Xan Difede and Jeb Bashaw. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Julie Chen, Stephen Chen
Julie and Stephen Chen. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Cindy Stewart, Soraya McClelland
Cindy Stewart, left, and Soraya McClelland. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Colleen McLaughlin
Colleen McLaughlin speaks on her experience as foster parent to Casa children. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Tom Koch, Brenda Koch, Lucia Cordua, Michael Cordua
Tom and Brenda Koch, left, with Lucia and Michael Cordua. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Jim Moore, Jerri Moore
Jim and Jerri Moore. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Betty Key, Jim Key, Joan Gilliland
Betty and Jim Key, left, with Joan Gilliland. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, blowing bubbles
This duo competing in their own bubble blowing contest. Photo by Shelby Hodge
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, blowing bubbles
Dinner guest enjoying the bubble gum treats. Photo by Shelby Hodge
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Shelby Hodge
Shelby Hodge making bubbles for Casa de Esperanza. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Michael Cordua, Kathy Foster, David Cordua
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Sid Suarez, Bill Jones, Lucy Reyes
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Mary Ellen Prochazka, Scott Prochazka
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Bruce Wallace, Jaclyn Martin
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Sasha Thomas, Howard Hill
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Layne and Jeanne Polocheck, Xan Difede, Jeb Bashaw
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Julie Chen, Stephen Chen
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Cindy Stewart, Soraya McClelland
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Colleen McLaughlin
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Tom Koch, Brenda Koch, Lucia Cordua, Michael Cordua
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Jim Moore, Jerri Moore
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Betty Key, Jim Key, Joan Gilliland
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, blowing bubbles
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, blowing bubbles
News, Shelby, Casa de Esperanza dinner, April 2015, Shelby Hodge

Million dollar dinners have become commonplace for Casa de Esperanza, which enjoyed another seven-figure windfall Sunday night. But this time around, organizers added an extra fundraising twist that involved bubble gum, challenges and celebrities.

KTRK Channel 13 news anchor Tom Koch, who served as dinner emcee, launched the "Pop for Hope" campaign by attempting to blow bubble gum bubbles from the podium. While that effort was not exactly medal-worthy, he did challenge NASA's Scott Kelly, Houston Rocket James Harden and Houston Texan J.J. Watt. This writer assisted Koch by attempting to blow bubbles from the jar of liquid and by challenging H-E-B's Scott McClelland, who was in the crowd of more than 600.

With each bubble blowing challenge, participants are asked to donate anywhere from $10 to $100 or more for Casa. Learn how it works here. To encourage participation, each guest received a pack of bubble gum and a number were quick to get into the bubble-blowing action.

For the 26th year, Lucia and Michael Cordua hosted the evening. It was held at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, where from their Artista kitchen chef Michael Cordua produced an exceptional multi-course dinner for the gathering. Describing his devotion to the work of Casa and its founder Kathy Foster, Michael Cordua said, "I told Kathy, 'As long as you can use me, you'll never have to find someone else to help you.'"

The successful event was chaired by Janet and Sey Zimmerman, Nancy and Robert Zimmerman, Sissy Zimmerman, Susu and Fred Meyer and Greta and Chuck Zimmerman. Serving as underwriter chair was Scott Prochazka, president and CEO of CenterPoint Energy.

The event honored Rosalind and Eugene Zimmerman with the Michael Cordua Spirit of Hope Award. Shell Oil Co. was honored as the Corporate Volunteer, Sarah Thomas as Community Volunteer of the Year and Jaclyn Martin and Bruce Wallace as Young Professional Volunteers of the Year.

Helping Casa in its programs for children were Julie and Stephen Chen, Trini Mendenhall, Bonner and George Ball, Louise and Bob Parsley, Peggy and Pete Miller, Ed Smith, Marsha and Charlie Parker and Stephanie and Brad Tucker.

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