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Rays Of Hope Gala Benefits Homeless Shelter In Stamford

Some of the dancers in 1950s outfits at Wednesday's gala at the Italian Center. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
The Congregational Church of New Canaan was honored: (from left) Linda Twombly, Judy Dunn, Marianna Kilbride, Rev. Ann Coffman, Pat Thatcher, Whitney Ball. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Honoree Sandi Mond (middle), and Youth Group members Lilly Pura (left) and Jack Pura, who work as volunteers at the homeless shelter. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
From left: James Calcagnini (Board of Directors), Judy Nielsen, event MC and speaker Chris Hansen, Mary Jo Hanson, Darien Selectman Jerry Nielsen. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Gala chair and member of the Board of Directors Andrew Reid (left) and member of the Board of Directors and shelter chair Jim Bosek. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Guests enjoy food and drink at the Gala. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
A big crowd turned out for the Rays of Hope gala. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Dance group in '50s attire. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman

STAMFORD, Conn. -- A big crowd turned out last week to rock the 1950s, honor volunteers who work with the homeless and benefit a good cause at the Rays of Hope Gala at the Italian Center in Stamford.

The 12th annual fundraising event held last Wednesday by Stamford-based Shelter for the Homeless benefits Pacific House men’s emergency shelter serving Greenwich, Stamford, Darien and New Canaan. Guests enjoyed cocktails, silent and live auctions, dinner, and music with the theme “Rockin’ 50s.”

Dr. Sandi Mond of Stamford and The Congregational Church of New Canaan were honored for their years of service to the shelter and the community.

Mond was honored for creating the David Mond Leadership Group for Shelter for the Homeless, an organization that encourages the area’s youth to take on a leadership role in helping the homeless. It was established in April 2009 by Sandi Mond, in memory of her husband and longtime Pacific House volunteer, David Mond. The group continues his work of preparing meals for and serving the homeless.

"David Mond was a dedicated volunteer who used his proficiency and joy of cooking, in conjunction with the Greenwich Board of Education Volunteers, to serve the men at the Pacific House," the Shelter for the Homeless said in a statement. "His joy and dedication for service lives on through the students, parents and teachers of this organization."

Members at Congregational Church of New Canaan were honored for supporting the men at Pacific House since 1995. Through generous collections, they have helped to provide food and shelter for homeless men in the Lower Fairfield County community.

"When basic needs – food and shelter – are furnished, clients can focus their energies on finding employment, securing stable housing, and overcoming the obstacles that led them to the shelter," the statement said. "The church has also given of their time through thousands of volunteer hours, including dinner service at Pacific House. Groups have purchased, prepared and cooked dinners for up to 100 men then taken the food to the shelter to serve and spend time with clients."

NBC journalist and Stamford resident Chris Hansen, known for his work on "Dateline NBC" and "To Catch A Predator," served as event MC and speaker.

The Stamford-based Shelter for the Homeless serves lower Fairfield County by operating the Pacific House in Stamford, a men's emergency shelter that typically serves 60 to 85 men each night but often serves 100 or more men during the winter. It provides breakfast and dinner daily.

For more information, visit its website .

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