‘Pearls for Hope’: Families receive priceless support

Mariclare Beggy, Dr DIane Grossi and Jeanine Hammond [Photo: Denise Ritchie]

Because of their lustrous beauty, pearls have been thought to offer protection, strengthen relationships and keep children safe. The same can be said of the Hope for Families Center, which recently hosted a ‘Pearls for Hope’ Christmas Luncheon at Bent Pine Golf Club.

“We know we’re not the sexiest charity in town, but what we do for people who have no hope, to give them hope, is mindboggling,” said longtime HFC board member Sue Scully, as guests began arriving.

Prior to enjoying a delicious repast of crab cakes atop a mixed green salad, guests were offered the opportunity to shop for a vast assortment of gorgeous pearl jewelry, including necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings offered by Mike Brennan, CEO of the International Pearl Group.

Many also purchased raffle tickets in hopes of winning a selection of stunning pearl jewelry pieces worth thousands of dollars, donated by Brennan.

During lunch, Brennan shared insights into the pearl industry with an informative talk about his business, which supplies pearls globally to luxury retailers. About 13 years ago, he said they began offering groups a chance to view pearl selections as a sort of focus group to determine which designs were more likely to sell.

“And in exchange for doing that, we give away $1.2 million a year in pearl gifts and prizes,” said Brennan. As a thank-you, each guest was gifted a beautiful pair of pearl earrings, the same ones retailers would sell for upwards of $250.

Noting that the earrings’ silicone backings were designed for the U.S. Olympic swim team, he added, “I always say that if you’re going to go to the beach for a swim, don’t forget your pearls. It reminds them of home; that’s where they came from.”

Diana Grossi, HFC executive director, said the event was a way to thank supporters for their generosity, and to ask them to remember HFC families at Christmas.

“Have you ever heard the old saying ‘No man is an island’? That saying is actually true, because when we become successful, we usually achieve success because of someone or people who have helped us. Hope for Families has succeeded because all of you have helped, and I want to thank you for that,” said Grossi.

“For many of us, the upcoming Christmas holiday will be a great time of celebration of family and friends, but that isn’t always true for the homeless. They don’t have their own Christmas tree to put up; they don’t have the money to buy their children what they wish for. Often they do not have a family to gather with and share the celebration together.”

Grossi said local churches, groups and individuals have donated gifts and food so that shelter residents might have the best Christmas possible.

“All of our children will have gifts at their doorways when they get up on Christmas morning. We will have food, which all of us can celebrate with them. We are their family for the holidays,” said Grossi, adding that she hoped others would consider donating during this time of giving.

“Your monetary gift will allow us to provide over 100 families who come through our shelter each year with the support and services to get them into their own housing, so that they can celebrate all future holidays together as a family.”

For more information, visit hopeforfamiliescenter.org.

Photos by: Denise Ritchie
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