A fund-raiser without a motif? No title, no theme, just "dinner"?
Whoever said "you gotta have a gimmick" would have eaten his words for dessert (along with the chocolate mousse cake) Saturday at the Providence Speech and Hearing Center's dinner.
"We don't need to pull fancy routines and costume parties," said board member Tom Britton, co-chairman, with vice president Doris Weaver, of the event at the Anaheim Marriott. "The work and the value of this cause brings these people back year in and year out."
Theme or no theme, the evening's purpose was demonstrated early, as Father Michael Geraughty used both speech and sign language in his invocation to more than 800 guests.
"I've been blessed with very healthy children, and being involved with the center reminds me that I'm one of the lucky ones," board member Madeline Zuckerman said.
The board also thanked the cast and crew of the NBC soap "Days of Our Lives" for contributing to awareness about hearing problems and presenting the TV show with Providence's annual "Hope, Help and Love" award.
Stars May Beth Evans, an Orange County native who portrays Kayla, a hearing-impaired character, and Stephen Nichols, who plays Patch, accepted the award.
The $225-per-person event netted more than $200,000, thanks to more than $100,000 in underwriting donations. The money will be used to pay expenses and for the center's 1988 wish list, topped with a request for a $24,000 auditory brain-stem response machine.
"This equipment can detect hearing problems in infants who are literally hours old," Britton said. "That can lead to corrective surgery or processes as early as possible."
The center yearly serves more than 7,500 children and adults with speech and hearing disorders.
Board president Peter Muth said he visits at least weekly.
"It's so exciting to see the kids blossom as they learn to communicate," he said. "To think of the trauma they would go through if they didn't have something like this (the center)."
Singer Toni Tennille provided the after-dinner entertainment.
Jan Hofmann is a regular contributor to Orange County Life.