Under the twinkling lights at our Hollygrove campus’ therapy garden, 50 guests welcomed the arrival of spring on March 20 with an evening of culinary delight, complete with the gathering and reconnecting of friends.
The therapy garden, a peaceful and tranquil space, had gone unused for more than a year. The ever-creative Patrick Moya, a long-time volunteer, envisioned an opportunity to reconnect with this beautiful space by inviting friends to a unique, pop-up style dinner event.
While large gatherings are still not allowed by local CDC health regulations, Patrick devised a plan to allow for members of his social network to attend an ‘invite only’ soiree, with a request to make a donation to our Los Angeles-based Hollygrove programs. Adhering to city and county regulations, only members of the same household were seated together, with tables being six feet apart. Masks were donned except when dining, and in order to accommodate a limited flow of guests at any given time, three different reservation times were arranged.
While they waited for their tables, guests had the opportunity to explore the Hollygrove campus and play games such as foosball, cornhole, and basketball.
After enjoying handcrafted appetizers by Chef John Gladish, the guests were then treated to a delicious, locally-sourced meal that included short ribs and garden-fresh vegetables by Chef Robert Smith.
Guests were also invited to participate in the creation of a living plant wall as a surprise for the kids we serve when they can safely return to campus. Selecting from a variety of plants ranging from cacti to flowers, guests used their green thumbs to dig dirt, plant their selection, then place it on a planter wall, alongside little notes of encouragement and strength written on popsicle sticks. In addition to being another step in the rebuilding of our area community, it can also serve as a healthy reminder that through growth and life, anything is possible.
The evening, underwritten by Patrick, was a great success, raising $5,600 in cash donations to support Hollygrove programs and services! Thank you, Patrick, for being a champion of our programs, finding a safe way to gather, and providing a much-needed night out for so many.
Patrick has been actively volunteering with Uplift Family Services’ Hollygrove programs for more than five years. After being introduced to us through Board of Governors member Boni Bryant, with whom he is a colleague, he quickly became a fixture at our Parent Institute dinners and Camp Hollygrove events. In 2018, he was honored with the LA Rams’ “Community Quarterback Award“, which celebrates outstanding community volunteers who are working to better the Los Angeles region, and in 2019, he was honored at our annual Norma Jean Gala with the “Volunteer of the Year Award”.