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Hands of Hope Auction Party

The Heart of it All

Story by Bill Bannister | Photos by Baxter Buck

It’s been said that a little bit of hope can make big and wonderful things happen. For more than two decades, the Exchange Club Family Center has been in the business of hope and has made life better for fragile families throughout the Mid-South through trauma-focused counseling, group therapy and educational services.

More than 300 supporters gathered at the Ballet Memphis Center at Overton Square for the 2018 Hands of Hope Auction Party, an annual fundraising gala. Guests arrived at valet parking and were ushered inside where they were greeted with glasses of sparkling wine and checked in for bidding in the silent auction. Among the many treasures up for grabs were tickets from Playhouse on the Square and The Orpheum Theatre, a case of fine wines from Southern Glazers Wines and Spirits, a $200 gift certificate to Capital Grille with a set of fine cutlery, and a black mink coat by Christian Dior.

Others who generously donated items included Sissy’s Log Cabin, with an array of fine jewelry, FedEx St. Jude Golf Association, Nike, Advanced Dermatology Bounty on Broad, McEwen’s, Little Red Treehouse, Visha Skincare, and Silver Dunes of Destin. The live auction, presided over by Hunter Morris, featured paintings by local artists including Paul Edelstein, Rose Sitton, Grace Skertich, Katelyn Russell and John Warmath. There was a wine and whiskey pull, as well as handcrafted birdhouses by Family Center clients, which could be purchased for a donation.

Partygoers lined up for premium libations from the fully stocked open bar and feasted on mouth-watering goodies from CFY Catering. There was hot brown mac and cheese and cola braised Claybrook Farms short ribs served over smoked cheddar stone ground grits and cups of fresh vegan tomato soup. Desserts included lemon berry tartlets, white chocolate peach bread pudding and dark chocolate mousse cups. A fun addition to the party came from Marcy Milman Productions, who set up a photo booth, complete with props, for a unique picture memory of the evening.

Guests danced the night away to the soulful sounds of Peabody Rocket. Presenting sponsors were IBERIABANK and State Systems. Other supporters included Ballet Memphis, Buster’s Liquors, North Berkley Wine, Holliday Flowers and Events, inferno, Bluff City Jaguar Land Rover, MCR Safety, Grinder Taber and Grinder, Ring Container Technologies, Signworks, Memphis Made Brewing, Autozone, AC Electric, Macy’s, and Morgan and Morgan.

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