What: Homemade Hope’s annual “Home Is Where the Heart Is Gala”
Where: Streaming on YouTube
The scoop: Grammy-nominated country music star Dierks Bentley serenaded an eager virtual crowd and celebrated NBA coach Mike D’Antoni and wife, Laurel, made a special appearance at Homemade Hope’s annual “Home Is Where the Heart Is” gala.
A must-attend yearly ticket for Houston young professionals, the event went virtual this year due to COVID concerns, but that didn’t stop a small group of yo-pros from gathering at Annie Cafe for a special watch party hosted by Adam Greer and Tiffany LaRose, as well as hundreds of virtual guests who watched from the comfort of their homes on YouTube.
The event honored Kristy Bradshaw and Maria Vilchez Lowrey and raised more than $70,000 for Homemade Hope’s work in the community with at-risk children and families.
Channel 2 Houston Life co-host Courtney Zavala emceed the event, which featured Bentley singing his hit, “Riser” on acoustic guitar. The charismatic performer gave a shout out to his nieces, Blair and Brooke, whom he called “the true rock stars of the Bentley family.”
Chef Chris Williams of Lucille’s and Lucille’s 1913 held a cooking demonstration of one of his favorite recipes, roasted hen. Coach D’Antoni and wife Laurel are a Homemade Hope favorite; the couple has sponsored more than 800 Thanksgiving meals through the organization over the past three years.
Videos were filmed separately using cell phones and other cameras, and Homemade Hope accepted donations through its website and Venmo in addition to pre-purchased tickets and sponsorship packages.
The live stream featured remarks from Homemade Hope founder Blair Bentley and Homemade Hope Program and volunteer coordinator Leslie Hernandez. Viewers were treated to an insight into the impact Homemade Hope has made on its students and parents through video testimonials from Southside Community Center Youth directors Lynn Stevenson and Oliver Stevenson. Homemade Hope development director Brooke Bentley-Gunst spoke about the organization’s programming and how the organization shifted its efforts due to COVID-19, with a focus on learning pods to bridge the digital divide.
Meanwhile, intrepid event photographer, Emily Jaschke, darted around town to capture the action at various locations.
The party is still going strong via an online auction that features items including a five-night stay at The Phoenix resort in San Pedro, Belize, and a custom blazer by Blu Fine Menswear. The auction will run through October 13, giving donors a chance to continue their support of Homemade Hope and its work in the community.