River Oaks Country Club was shimmering in Christmas trees and holiday decorations Friday night as Trees of Hope hosted the 25th annual benefit for children's programs at the Star of Hope homeless shelter. Santa baby was on their side as the holiday sparkle inspired loads of giving that totaled more than $900,000.
The "Silver Bell Ball" (silver, after all, is the 25th anniversary gift) honored three generations of the late Katherine and Orrien Smith family for more than 60 years of support of Star of Hope. Sherry and Jim Smith Sr. and Jaci and Jim Smith Jr. were honored along with the memory of the elder Smiths. Trees of Hope gala honorary chair Lynn Wyatt, who has been on board since the Trees of Hope founding in 1990, presented honors to the philanthropic Smith family.
Highlight of this colorful evening is always the collection of fab holiday decorations offered in a lively silent auction. The featured tree on this night was the "Dripping Jewels" tree courtesy of jewelry designer Claudia Lobao and Tootsies. The tree was loaded with the designer's popular pieces, no other decorations needed. Lobao was in from home base in San Antonio to attend the black-tie evening with Tootsies' Fady Armanious.
Adding a special holiday note to the evening was the song and dance performance by children from Star of Hope.
Applause, applause to gala chairs Rachel and Christopher Boehler and Laura and Steve Jones, who oversaw the dinner evening for 500 guests.
The festive crowd included Terri and John Havens, Lesha and Tom Elsenbrook, June Waggoner, Sommer and Lucian Bukowski, Terry and Jim Prather, Leigh Smith, Kristen and John Berger, Ann and Clarence Cazelot and Nina and Edd Hendee. Also joining the party were Jim Smith Sr.'s sisters, Suzanne Lyons and Mary Kay Freeman.