Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Cocktails for a Cause Helps ‘Bring Everyone Along’
Marie Gallo and Tom Wynn greet those arriving for The Connection’s Cocktails for a Cause held this past week at Gail Severn Gallery.
Wednesday, October 17, 2018


Katie Philips crawled through a dog door when one of her Meals on Wheels recipients failed to answer the door.

And Shirley Huntington felt so exuberant during an overnight Senior Connection trip to a yurt that she jumped into Smiley Creek, reliving her youth.

These are the kinds of stories that nearly 200 valley residents came together to celebrate and support this past week at the Senior Connection’s third annual Cocktails for a Cause.

Judy Wampler and Gerry Morrison live it up at Cocktails for a Cause.

 And by the end of the evening supporters had ponied up more than $145,000—nearly three times the $55,000 the event made during its first year and more than the $115,000 it raised last year.

Celebrants sipped Old-Fashioned cocktails provided by Leslie and Tim Silva and topped with Luxardo gourmet cocktail cherries.

And they nibbled on pulled pork sandwiches and other goodies donated by Robin Leavitt and Terry Friedlander, Anne Mason of Ketchum Grill, Christina’s, the Wood River Sustainability Center and Connection Chef Erik Olsen.

“Obviously, we’re fundraising tonight, but we’re friend raising, too, as we introduce more people to the Senor Connection,” said the Connection’s Board Chair Michael Beck.

Anita Northwood fills up on a few of the nibbles.

Executive Director Teresa Beahen Lipman told those in attendance that The Connection provides a safety net for seniors.

“We help make sure no one goes hungry, that no one’s alone and that no one is hurt in their homes. In the last year we had to enter four homes to help those who fell,” she said. “If not for you and others who support Meals and Wheels, the outcome for these seniors would have been different.”

The Connection experienced a 25 percent growth over last year in the number of people served. It has 2,000 seniors in its data base. It’s estimated there are 3,500 in the valley.

The Connection added several new programs this year to get seniors out and about, including nature walks led by members of Environmental Resource Center and Sawtooth Botanical Garden and bicycle outings with two-seater rickshaws provided for those in need of a pedaling partner.

Connie Post and Glenda Cox were among nearly 200 people who mingled among the art at Gail Severn Gallery.

Those were augmented with gondola rides provided by Sun Valley Resort and trips to the Sun Valley Summer Symphony.

Trish Wilson and Shay Doll started off the paddle up with a $25,000 bid between their two families. And Doll and her husband Buddy Wilton added an unexpected challenge of $10,000 to match any $1,000 bids. Fifteen raised their paddles for $1,000 to meet the challenge.

Lipman said $5,000 covers transportation for a month or 30 days in the Connection Club for those struggling with dementia or Alzheimer’s. It also underwrites the popular Fit and Fall Proof classes for a year.

Meanwhile, $2,500 provides for a month of Meals on Wheels or a year’s worth of emergency discretionary funds with each dollar spent on Meals on Wheels saving Medicaid $50. And $250 provides for 10 hours of home care services.

Marie Gallo celebrates the raffle drawing of a season ski pass provided by Sun Valley Resort.

“Thank you for caring for people as they age. Bringing everyone along as they age is so important,” Board Vice-Chair Erin Buell told the crowd.

Judy Wampler, a mainstay at the Senior Connection center in Hailey, said she loves to play Bingo with her “girls” ages 97 and 92.

 “It keeps your mind alert. And there’s a little money involved, which gets everyone going,” she said. “If it’s a black out game, you can make a couple hundred dollars.”

Others taking part in the evening were Anita Northwood and Reagan McLaughlin of the newly opened Silver Creek Living and Memory Care facility across from Albertson’s in Hailey.

“Some of our residents go to the Senior Connection a couple times a week and we’re trying to think of ways we can work closer together,” said Northwood.

McLaughlin agreed: “We forget how lucky we are to have such a wonderful senior center here when others near Boise and around the country are having to close or scale back because they’re losing government funding.”


The Senior Connection will join hands with Higher Ground to salute Veterans on Nov. 11.

It will hold its annual Fashions and Wine party on Nov. 29.

And it is bringing back the Festival of Trees with a gala evening at The Mint on Dec. 4.


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