BY JALESSA CASTILLO, TIMES STAFF WRITER
ORLANDO - Brave, Inspirational, and Pink.
The previously listed words are often associated with Breast Cancer Awareness month. The significance of this time of the year is made evident by the various events and programs that promote research for the illness and share heart-warming experiences from survivors. This tradition continues in Central Florida with “Taste the Hope” an auction that was held to raise money for those affected by Breast Cancer and to spread awareness for this illness.
The event was presented by The Petals of Hope Foundation, Inc. The non-profit, tax exempt 501 (c)(3) organization has its headquarters in Orlando, FL. It is dedicated to community service throughout Orange County and is the charitable arm of Delta Omicron Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (AKA).
The foundation, which was established in 2012, is made-up of an innovative network of professional woman who provide community support to individuals and families through programs in education, health, and social welfare. Created to further enhance volunteerism and community outreach, it does not receive government funding rather, all programs and operations are made possible through the volunteer hours of members and the generosity of donors.
“One of things we do is give scholarships to high school girls. We also have a program called ASCEND in which high school students from Orange and Osceola counties meet once a month on Saturdays and we share experiences with them that they would not get in a normal classroom setting. We also provide college tours for those who attend that program,” said Gail Burke, Chairman of Petal of Hope Inc., and President of AKA. “During the Hurricane we went to Orlo Vista Elementary to help the people in that area and we gave over 300 people and their families’ warm meals, we replenished their school supplies, and provided clothes to the school’s bank. Additionally, we recently partnered up with ASPIRE which is a program for recovering addicts.”
On Friday, October 7th the 3rd Annual “Taste the Hope” event began at 8pm under the direction of Karimah Addlery, the event’s chairman. Guests enjoyed the musical stylings of the jazz band Fourte as they participated in silent auctions that were open from 8:30pm-10:00pm at Massey Cadillac of Orlando. The auctioned items included tickets to a Tampa Bay Rays game, a Southwest Airline flight, the Holy Land Experience, the Botanical Gardens, Busch Gardens, an autographed basketball from The Orlando Magic, and more. Auctioneers bid on silent auction items with a buyer’s premium of 10% being added to all winning bids. Petals of Hope used the collective 10% contribution to compensate the auction service provider for auction preparation, consulting, and bid-calling services. The auction services were provided by Auction Angels, LLC.
“Our main adjective was to provide transportation for cancer patients who can’t get to and from their treatments,” said Burke. “We hosted the Taste the Hope event to support the activities of the families, the individuals, and the community that we showed support to this year.”
In addition to the auction, there was time set aside for ‘Welcome & Introductions’ that included brief speeches from Gail Burke, Petals of Hope Chairman and President of AKA, Lakye Waldon, Petals of Hope Executive Director, and representatives from Massey Cadillac of Orlando and the FL Hospital Cancer Institute. As the night went on they held the Luminary Presentation. This formality allotted time for 25-30 of the friends and family of breast cancer survivors, current breast cancer patients, as well as those who lost a loved due to Breast Cancer, to speak in recognition of them. The event concluded at 10:45pm with acknowledgements.
With the mission to impact the lives of those in need of services and opportunities beyond their reach, Petals of Hope received help from the event sponsors. They included Massey Cadillac, Mt. Pleasant, Amscot, C & C Pharmacy, West Orange Speech Pathologists Inc., Kidz Choice Pediatric Dentistry, among others. Furthermore, tastings were provided by various local vendors including Oley’s Kitchen and Smokehouse, Sarah’s Sweets, PRP Wine International, and more.
“This was an excellent event, it was very elegant and well organized” said Deloris McMillion, a member of the committee. “We had attendance from those throughout Orange and Osceola county and it was well received by the community.”
The Board of Directors and Officers of the Petals of Hope Foundation, Inc. would like to thank all those who supported Taste the Hope 2017. Those present along with their contributions made the event a success.