BONNES MERES SERVES HOPE AND LOVE AT HOLIDAY LUNCHEON
Orginally published in The Sun on 11/3/16
By Michel Nolan
Those good mothers have done it again.
Officially known as “Bonnes Meres” Auxiliary of Children’s Fund, the lovely Bonnes Meres members — and a handful of Bonnes Peres — hosted their annual Holiday Auction and Luncheon Thursday to make life a little easier for our most vulnerable San Bernardino County residents — its abused and neglected children.
The money raised at the fundraiser goes to help children with the most immediate and urgent needs.
There are now more than 6,000 children in the foster-care program in San Bernardino County.
On Thursday, a gathering of about 350 filled the Renaissance Ballroom of the National Orange Show Events Center, which was transformed into a glittering autumn fantasy of fall foliage and pumpkins, themed “Harvesting Stars for a Brighter Future.”
The theme was the idea of president Barbara Rozema, who said she was inspired by thinking of the stars as children, who could shine brighter with love and hope.
There are only 38 active members of Bonnes Meres, along with additional groups of Lifetime and Honorary members.
In the words of Betty Chambers of Children’s Fund, “They’re small but mighty.”
After last year’s huge success, the group has a tough act to follow.
Last December, the nonprofit presented a check for $75,000 to Children’s Fund to ensure that at-risk children who are abused, neglected, impoverished or abandoned receive adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical care and equal opportunities for social development.
Since Bonnes Meres was founded in 1958, more than $1.7 million has been raised for these children.
The event included the traditional silent auction, luncheon, opportunity drawing for fabulous prizes, and a spirited live auction presided over by Neal Waner, Bonnes Meres board president, and Martha Green, cooking guru and owner of Martha Green’s Dough’Lectibles.
Live auction items ranged from a Magical Gingerbread Party at a private home, to six seats behind home plate at an Angel baseball game.
Highlight of the event was the talk given by guest speaker Trinity Wallace-Ellis, consultant and inspirational speaker — also a foster child.
“Your experiences don’t change with age, but how you cope with them, does change,” she told the group.
Her powerful story of her own childhood and the abuses and neglect she endured.
There weren’t a lot of dry eyes in the house — including mine — when she finished speaking.
Trinity’s emotional talk went to the heart of why Bonnes Meres does what it does.
The generous souls of the community have given these children a voice. Without the passion and dedication of humanitarians, the young voices would be silenced.
The good mothers host two fabulous events — in addition to the annual Holiday Auction in the fall, there is the Spring Birthday Luncheon, which provides birthday gifts for all the children in the foster-care system — all 6,000 of them.