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Published: Sunday, 11/20/2011

On the Town: Fruit of the vine for the salt of the earth

BY MARY ALICE POWELL
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE
Dan Wakeman, left, CEO of ProMedica St. Luke's Hospital, serves as honorary chair of the Mobile Meals Wine Gala 2011 while Cindy Smith, right, served as chairman. Dan Wakeman, left, CEO of ProMedica St. Luke's Hospital, serves as honorary chair of the Mobile Meals Wine Gala 2011 while Cindy Smith, right, served as chairman.
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Mobile Meals of Toledo can boast that it has come a long way in fund-raising projects.

At the 24th annual Wine Gala Nov. 5 at Stranahan Great Hall, long-time supporters recalled early benefits that were more wine tastings than dinner. One that is remembered was held at Taylor Cadillac in downtown Toledo when Steve Taylor was honorary chairman.

From that beginning, a loyal band of supporters turn out in legion for the annual black-tie affair that has grown from a small number of attendees at a car dealership to 350 guests at a sit-down dinner, capped by a wine auction, in a mega banquet hall.

Kathie and Bob Maxwell have attended many Wine Galas since she became a volunteer quite by accident in 1985 when a friend needed help on a delivery meal route.

"The next thing I knew I was working in the Mobile Meals office as a volunteer," she said. She continues to volunteer where she is needed.

The tastings were the courtesy of nine wine merchants, the dinner table was marked by red and white choices, and a wine auction is annually the grand finale of the gala.

Rachel Wesley, with Frederick Wildman and Sons, served at a tasting table. She considers it her company's part as giving back to the community. "Mobile Meals is a vital link for people who otherwise wouldn't have daily nutritious meals. It is particularly important in these economic times," Ms. Wesley said.

Jerry and Joyce Johnson look over the event program. Jerry and Joyce Johnson look over the event program.
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According to Carolyn Fox, associate executive director for Mobile Meals, the live auction of wines, conducted by Rick Kigar, raised $30,000. Of that, $4,000 went to the featured lot of five French wines, donated by Marvin and Nancy Robon and Mr. and Mrs. Mike Sordy.

Honorary chairman Dan Wakeman, ProMedica St. Luke's Hospital, shared impressive numbers that summarized Mobile Meals work to fulfill its mission to deliver healthful meals to the home bound. In the last year, 900 volunteers delivered 520,000 meals to 1,295 individuals, and $158,000 was given in subsidized funds to those who could not afford to pay for the service.

Between wine tasting and filling appetizer plates from a long table of goodies supplied by local restaurants, food companies, and Whitmer High School Culinary Arts students, guests perused the several tables to make bids on hundreds of silent auction items.

The event raised an estimated $71,000.

Jen and Greg Wagoner enjoy the Wine Gala. Jen and Greg Wagoner enjoy the Wine Gala.
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