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Serving Up The Love At Whimsy Farms For Gods Love We Deliver

Originally Posted: June 17, 2009

Colin M. Graham

Jonathan Adler, Simon Doonan, Anh Duong and Ellen Morton all enjoy the evening at the Ninth Annual God's Love We Deliver event held in Sagaponack. Photos by Colin M. Graham

Sagaponack - Summer in the Hamptons just doesn't feel like its fully started until the big blockbuster charity driven events start rolling into town. This past Saturday, June 13 one of the first of these functions, Midsummer Night Drinks to benefit God's Love We Deliver, kicked off the summer gala season at Whimsy Farms, the home of Martin and Mary Puris.

Madeline Weinrib, Rebecca Bond, and Fern Mallis.

This year marks the first time God's Love held the event at Whimsy Farm. "Some friends of ours, Jonathan and Rebecca Bond, who are pretty new friends to God's Love, were helping us find places to hold the event," said Karen Pearl, President and CEO of God's Love We Deliver at the event.

"Rebecca is friends with Mary Puris and she asked her and Mary said yes. We got very lucky because it is an amazing place. In my mind it's very different than what you normally see out here because of all the woodlands and just the setting is so beautiful," Pearl added despite taking momentary shelter from the rain beneath the tent. "We're really delighted and want thank all of our guests for being part of this with us and for all their support for God's Love, not only tonight but throughout the whole year."

President and CEO of God's Love We Deliver Karen Pearl on stage introducing the auction with Simon Doonan.

For the uninitiated, God's Love We Deliver is a charity started in 1985 with the stated mission of improving "the health and well-being of men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-altering illnesses by alleviating hunger and malnutrition." When Pearl was asked to run the charity back in 2006, she jumped at the chance to support such a noble and important cause.

"I wanted to do it because I believe so firmly in the mission and believe so firmly in supporting people by giving them the nutrition they need when they're so sick that they just can't take care of themselves," she noted. We come in and we do really important work giving them the nutrition and the sustenance so they can manage their illness and their medications. It's just very rewarding and satisfying work."

And Pearl is certainly not the only one who thinks so; despite the less than ideal weather (the charity was expecting between 350 and 400 guests) the event ultimately tallied just shy of 300 folks, including a slew of notable names such as Simon Doonan, Anh Duong, Ben Dollar, Fern Mallis and Jonathan Adler.

Ben Doller, Scott Bruckner, Jim Anderson and Hodie Clark enjoy the evening.

"I'm all up in God's Love's grill because I love them and they're the greatest organization - they just do an unbelievable service with a smile and the food is great and the people are great and I love, love, love God's Love," said Jonathan Adler while talking with friends at the party. "Simon [Doonan] and I have a place on Shelter Island and we never leave except to come to the God's Love benefit because we're such fans and supporters and because it's always one of the most fun nights of the summer."

Ben Doller and Simon Doonan auctioning off a one-of-a-kind ink drawing by artist Don Carney.

Since the charity first started hosting the event in the Hamptons in 2001, it has grown to become one of the most anticipated parties of the summer season. Adding to the fun this year was a live auction featuring high-end items like a luxurious rug donated by the Madeline Weinrib Atelier, a necklace from Gurnhan Jewelry and a one-off ink drawing by artist Don Carney as well as catering by Taste Caterers, Inc., a tasting bar provided by Cavaniola's Gourmet Cheese Shop in Sag Harbor, wines given by Bedell Cellars and Corey Creek Vineyards, cocktails from Grey Goose with prosecco by Martini 7 Rossi topped off with an excellent gift bag featuring products by J. Crew, MAC Cosmetics, Montblanc North America and Fekkai.

Leading the auction was Doonan and Dollar, who helped promote the items through their rapier wit and humorous asides. "We have some wonderful items here so it's going to be painless and vivacious and amusing and glamorous," pronounced Doonan as he got the attention of the crowd. "The first item is a long necklace by Gurhan Jewelry; it has slices of aquamarine framed in 24 karat gold. I have one that I wear around the pool with a caftan," he said drawing laughter from the crowd. "It's very versatile - like myself - and it's perfect for layering or wrapping."

Mary Puris with Jessica and Michael Schessel.

While the final funds raised by the event were not yet available at the time of this writing, Gary Snieski, Assistant Director of Corporate and Media Relations for God's Love, believed the funds from the action alone to be around $40,000. "The silent auction was composed of three high-end items and then during the auction guests were given the opportunity to pay for meals for our clients for say a year, or a month or a week, recounted Sineski via telephone after the event. The entire auction from what I'm told brought in more than $40,000."

As far as to what affect the adverse weather had on the event, Snieski pointed out that while this year wasn't their best year ever, there was plenty to be thankful for even if the sun wasn't shining. "We had nearly 300 guests attend this year and we had expected about 350 so the rain didn't have that much of an effect on us fortunately," he noted. "Last year was our most successful year for the event raising over $300,000 and although I'm anticipating that we're not going to break that this year given the fact that the economy has been so difficult and our event count was down a little bit, we're hoping that we'll at least match it."

This year's ninth annual God's Love We Deliver Midsummer Night Drinks was held at Whimsy Farm, the home of Mary and Martin Puris.

And all the work has certainly been worth it; not only is God's Love We Deliver serving more clients this year than they did even a year ago, but on Thursday, June 25, God's Love will be celebrating serving their 10 millionth meal at an event in SoHo. With the support of benefactors like those at this year's ninth annual event, God's Love We Deliver will continue to serve up plates of love for those who are truly in need.


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