What do most small town fundraisers lack? Panache, glamour, glitz. What are most flashy award galas missing? A bigger purpose, a chance to serve the community.
Yet Temecula Valley residents are lucky to have Charity for Charity’s Stars of the Valley awards show and fundraiser to fill this void. Now in its 5th year, founder Charity Prestifilippo’s local event, held February 5th at Wilson Creek Winery, continues to live up to her motto: “Helping and having fun doing it.”
She’s not kidding. This glitzy gala for 250 people is modeled after the Golden Globes as much as possible—complete with Red Carpet, “paparazzi,” dinner, wine at the tables, crowd-pleasing, surprise celebrity guests, entertainment by the Charity for Charity Board, dancing, goodie bags, and even humorous “commercial breaks” during the ceremony.
But this award ceremony feels like a family reunion as it celebrates the Valley’s own “celebrities.” This year over 50 Temecula Valley-ites have been nominated in 12 categories, including “Prince Charming,” “Wise Owl,” “A+ Teacher,” “Temecula’s ‘Norm’,” “Golden Grape,” and even “Real Housewife of Temecula.”
Who will win? Not even Prestifilippo knows. Until January 30, people can go to
http://www.charityforcharity.com and anonymously vote for their favorites. All votes are logged remotely in Orange County, calculated, and the winners are sent directly to the printers who print and seal the winning envelopes for the ceremony. Only the accounting firm of Ernest and Young could be as top-secret.
This touch adds to the appeal and the fun…but this awards ceremony also raises serious money for two local families in need. “I love bringing people together, and to bring people together for a good cause, that’s the best thing in the world,” Prestifilippo believes. This year, Stars of the Valley will honor seven-year-old Hailey Marie Gee and father-of-two Brian Klein, and all money from the event will go to grant their wishes as they bravely face serious adversity.
Adorable Hailey Marie Gee was born with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a rare and serious skin disease that causes painful blisters on her skin and internal organs after minor trauma. Children with EB are often referred to as Butterfly Children because their skin is as fragile as a butterfly’s wings. Though her life expectancy is not much longer than 20 years, those who meet Hailey are struck by her “heart of gold and a spirit for life that we all should possess.” Her mom Kandace, though struggling with medical bills, just wants her to have what all little girls want, and a simple wish for a vacation away or to go to a concert—which many take for granted— would mean the world for this inspirational little girl and her family.
Brian Klein and his wife Bobbie of Murrieta also have a need to get away from their daily struggles, if only for awhile. After losing their new business, Fitwize for Kids, due to the economy, Brian was diagnosed with stage-4 colon cancer. The illness prevented Brian from working, and the medical bills mounted. Suddenly, the bank auctioned their home, forcing this family of four away from the neighborhood and school the children had attended since Kindergarten. Now Brian has discovered that the cancer has spread, and the family is bracing for more treatments and more bills. In addition to assisting with the family’s expenses, Brian wishes for a much-needed vacation to create some important family memories.
And Charity Prestifilippo’s wish? To raise twice as much money as past years to help these two wonderful families! “Our organization is personal—we know the beneficiaries, we’re the ones in the community.” Recently honored by the Temecula Rotary for her work, Charity Prestifilippo modestly asserts that, “what I get from it is so much more than I give. It comes back to us. The whole (Charity for Charity) Board feels that way.”
It’s not too late to join in and make all these wishes come true! In addition to attending the event, Charity for Charity is accepting donations of items or services for the beneficiaries themselves, or for the event’s goody bags, raffle baskets, and silent auction items. This year the creative Prestifilippo is even selling advertisements for this year’s US Weekly magazine-inspired program. Please contact Charity for Charity at www.charityforcharity.com or call 951-775-1629 to be a part of all this glitzy goodness.
The 5th Annual Stars of the Valley will be held at 5:30pm on Saturday, February 5 at Wilson Creek Winery. Tickets are available for $120 online until sold out.