With large gatherings of guests dining together an impossibility, the March of Dimes pivoted its Signature Chefs fundraiser into a Feeding Motherhood Virtual Take Out Dinner Party, hoping to raise $40,000 to provide much-needed support to mothers and babies.
“I was born prematurely, so the March of Dimes has always been a cause that’s been close to my heart,” said event chair Rennie Gibb, of John’s Island Real Estate. “Now that I’ve moved back to Vero, I’m proud to lead the 2020 effort for the Signature Chefs event.”
This year, guests picked up their meals, choosing from a selection of three-course gourmet dinners whipped up by several of our extraordinary chefs: Chefs Scott Varricchio of Citrus, Joe Faria of Quail Valley Golf Club, Massimo Napoli of Francesca’s Italian Kitchen and Nick La Mattina of Ryder’s Gourmet Market. The dinners were accompanied by bottles of wine.
As guests enjoyed their meals at home, they were entertained virtually with terrific music by singer/guitarist Daryl Dailey prior to a short program, emceed by John Moore.
“How we connect with our events may look different during the COVID-19 pandemic, but our shared commitment to giving all families the best possible start is as strong as ever,” said president/CEO Stacey Stewart, leading off the virtual presentation. “Thanks to your support, we’re able to continue fighting the serious maternal health issues that affect our communities.”
“Our venue might have changed, and we might not be together, but the dedication that we all share for helping moms and babies continues without restraint and unabated,” said Moore. “The United States is fighting an urgent maternal and child healthcare crisis that has only been compounded by the COVID-19 epidemic.”
Offering some frightening statistics, he said that a woman dies due to complications in childbirth every 12 hours, and that we lose two babies a day to those same types of complications.
“Personally, I’m grateful that a wonderful organization like March of Dimes is fighting to improve the health of families, just as they’ve done for more than 80 years,” said Gibb. “The stark reality is that the United States is among the most dangerous developed nations for childbirth, and that’s during the best of times.”
She noted that during this unprecedented global pandemic, with its far-reaching effects on public health systems and the economy, the March of Dimes is a lifeline for families who are at greatest risk. Adding to the stress of pregnancy, the pandemic has caused mothers to not make prenatal and/or routine pediatric visits for fear of infection, and family members have been unable to visit babies in NICU wards.
“This year has been unlike any other we’ve seen, but your continued support has not gone unnoticed. Families need us, always, and the March of Dimes community has stepped up to be there for them throughout this crisis,” said Gibb.
A video montage tribute to ‘Healthcare Heroes’ serving on the frontlines during the pandemic was followed by a talk by Emily Lockhart, a NICU nurse and mother. She and husband Nate welcomed their prematurely born daughter, Daisy, into the world in December 2013. Weighing just 1 pound, 13 ounces, Daisy spent 81 days in the NICU and overcame the odds to become a healthy little girl.
The March of Dimes strives to reduce the rising rates of preterm births as well as maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, by supporting families before, during and after pregnancy. With face-to-face visits often impossible, March of Dimes now offers many of its support programs online.
For more information, visit marchofdimes.org.