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South Beach Comes to Westchester for Friends of Karen

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - Friends of Karen , the not-for-profit organization with headquarters in Purdys, will hold its annual fundraising gala on Saturday, May 5 at the special events center, LIFE the Place to Be in Ardsley.

This year’s theme is "South Beach Comes to Life," so dig out your Ray-Bans, polish your bling, and hide your South Beach Diet paperback behind the encyclopedia for the night.

Friends of Karen, founded in 1978, provides emotional, financial and advocacy support for families dealing with a child’s critical illness. Nearly 85 percent of the organization’s earnings go directly to supporting families through their trying of times.

NBC correspondent Kate Snow will emcee the May 5th event, and Mr. K’s Motown Revue Band will be back to provide hours of great music. Dinner and dancing will be augmented by numerous raffles and auctions.

Special tribute will be paid this year to volunteers Jacqueline Holtzer and Jackie Holzinger , both of North Salem, who will be honored for their tireless dedication and work for the charity.

The dinner will be catered by Abigail Kirsch . “We’re not sure yet what the dinner menu will be, but I can tell you about one of the exciting raffle prizes," said Gwen Salmo of Friends of Karen.

“Twenty-four restaurants, most of them in Westchester, are offering dinner for two. There will be three prize-winners altogether, so each winner gets dinner for two at eight different restaurants.”

Tickets for the “Dine Around” prize are $20 each, six for $100. Among the host restaurants are Crabtree’s Kittle House, La Crémaillère, The Iron Horse Grill, Restaurant North, Vox and the Village Social.

After making donations for ten years, Susan Strawgate Code started to give her time as well. “I went in once a week and did whatever they needed. Wrapped packages, addressed envelopes, did some filing,” she said. Now she is on the gala committee.

“It’s an ongoing personal investment in a cause,” she said. “And what better cause is there than helping a family get through a devastating experience? There is no greater goodness than taking care of a sick child.”

"South Beach Comes to Life" begins with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at 7:30 p.m. Dinner, dancing and auction/raffle activities start at 8:30 p.m. Individual tickets are $250 each, young professional tickets (35 and under) are $150 each. Sponsorship packages are available. For more information visit the website .

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