With Love's First Benefit Dinner

Seated in the Marylhurst University ballroom on the evening of Oct. 1 attending the first With Love Benefit dinner and auction, I couldn’t help but flashback to four years earlier; reclining on Allie Roth’s couch in her living room, sipping on coffee while my baby daughter crawled around her floor, Allie had something she needed to share with me. She had an idea, a dream, something she was certain would improve foster care in the community. 

 

She had a glimmer in her eyes as she excitedly explained to me, “It is a place where foster parents feel honored and supported. They can get everything they need, and it will be all donations.”  She described to me, in detail, her vision and plan for an organization, a place, that would support and honor foster families in the community. 

I could feel her passion for this mission; I could sense her urgency for this need. She had it in her mind and heart, and I knew somehow, this was going to be more than a passing dream. 

She even had it named: “With Love,… Because the community will come together and share in this, and individuals and families can volunteer in honor of someone. It will be a place where people can receive and be blessed, both the giver and the receiver.”

 

Now, flash forward, four years later and here I sit, among the other approximately 210 people, applauding the successes and future ambitions of With Love,. 

That dream, that vision, that plan has suddenly become a thriving reality. 

 

With Love’s first benefit dinner and auction was a perfect blend of elegance, fun, celebration and challenge. Businesses from all over the community stepped up to donate many desirable auction items; guests could purchase $10 tickets to bid on the items they wanted. From wine tours, to swimming lessons, to art and fun family fun outings, there was something for everyone. The raffle created a sense of anticipation and excitement. 

 

In addition to auction items, there were also collection tables around the room for additional donations to foster children. Guests mingled and noshed on appetizers, sipped wine and beer and surveying the items. The room was buzzing with excited discussion! There was certainly an energy in the air. 

 

 The auction tables closed, and this energy was directed to the center of the room where beautifully decorated tables were set, waiting for guests to begin dinner. 

Colorful paper airplanes adorned the center of each table, creating a playful atmosphere; later in the evening, their craftsmanship was actually tested and tried as they were launched at other tables. These decorations were a great reminder and representation of the innocence of these foster children being served. 

Scott Roth, Allie’s husband, then took the stage to introduce his wife, the visionary, founder and president of With Love..  Allie took to the stage and enthusiastically detailed the history and story of With Love, the positive impact its made on the community and her goals and dreams for the future. 

 

As she spoke, there was that undeniable spark in her eye again. The passion and drive has not wavered one bit in the 4 years since I sat in her living room, hearing of it for the first time. Now, with the belief that even more kids could be served, she voiced a bold goal of raising $55,000 dollars during the dinner. She recognized several community sponsors and supporters, one being First Tech Credit Union, who generously agreed to match $1,000 contributions dollar for dollar up  to $10,000. 

 

Several people took the stage to tell their stories of being a foster parent and the impact With Love, has made in lessening the financial, physical and emotional burdens.  They described the adrenaline rush of receiving the sudden phone call from DHS, notifying them of a child needing care. With emotion, they talked about how With Love was on the front lines, delivering to their door everything they needed, free of charge, allowing them to put all their energy and focus into the child rather than the material necessities. 

Foster care advocate Embrace Oregon’s Director, Brooke Gray took to the stage too, relaying her experience of working with foster care parents as well as taking on the role herself.  Embrace Oregon commended and recognized With Love’s support and credited that the Portland Community is stronger because of With Love’s partnership with DHS and foster families. 

 

To conclude the dinner, very specific needs and goals were addressed. One area of focus was older toddler boy clothing. Donations for this age are extremely low, so a fund was created just for this need, called “Let’s Hear it For the Boys.”  To the background of Deniece Williams' song, envelopes were passed, volunteers helped with credit card transactions and financial pledges and donations were collected. 

 

The night concluded with the room sharing in a truly heartfelt applause. The night was an overwhelming success. The message and mission of With Love, was wonderfully conveyed and the goals were met with affirmation; this is truly a cause worth supporting. The monetary goal was met and was exceeded; $60,220 was raised. 

The evening was a perfect embodiment of all that With Love, stands for and strives to be in the community.

We are stronger;

We are more unified; 

We can show more Love.

 

Thank you With Love, for a tremendous event!

- Theresa Patton