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Belles raise money for St. Petersburg's Christmas Toy Shop


Honored for her exceptional volunteer work with the All Children's Hospital Guild, Beach Branch, Bette Barr was named Mrs. Santa at the guild's annual Mrs. Santa luncheon, held in the St. Petersburg Yacht Club.

More than 400 women attended the event, which featured fashions from Dillard's. Members and friends of the guild served as models.

Asa Myers and Maggie Eynatten were event chairs, helped by Anita Harrow, Marilyn Massimore, Kay Burrill and Cynthia Mock. Dick Crippen, special adviser to the Tampa Bay Rays, was master of ceremonies.

Nearly 1,000 volunteers from eight branches from New Port Richey to Sarasota assist the All Children's Hospital Foundation by sponsoring fundraising events to help children who seek medical care at the hospital. Proceeds from this year's efforts will go to the neonatal intensive care unit.

The formula is simple: A house large enough to accommodate several hundred guests and interesting enough to draw their attention. And the food: tray upon tray of bite-sized morsels, some sweet, some savory, prepared by the Christmas Belles, the 24 volunteers who organize the annual coffee to benefit St. Petersburg's Christmas Toy Shop.

It's a phenomenal effort. The women test recipes for months, shine vintage silver and put untold hours into other tasks that make the event so successful and popular.

This year's party, held in a recently renovated historic manse on the St. Petersburg waterfront, broke records. More than 300 guests attended, which means that more than 300 new toys were presented to the Toy Shop. And money gifts totaled nearly $30,000.

Sharon Jackson, who leads the Christmas Toy Shop, was there, as was her predecessor, Ardith Rutland. The Flower Centre of St. Petersburg also donated decorative arrangements for the cause.

Santa, trim and wearing sunglasses, rode to the event on his bicycle. Probably too warm a day for a sleigh and reindeer. If you see Bill Ballard around town, tell him that the jolly elf looks as though he could be his twin.

The Belles, 24 in number, are Mary Wyatt Allen, Marion Ballard, Lennie Bennett, Lynn Cox, Elizabeth Curry, Tina Douglass, Dawn Fisher, Ashley Gairing, Kally Harvard, Rosemary Hempel, Susan Hicks, Judy Holland, Shannon Knowlton, Anne Long, Laurie Lowe, Evelyn Moorefield, Glenn Mosby, Lynnell Owen, Carol Piper, Nancy Rutland, Iris Salzer, Betty Shamas, Judy Stanton and Patsy Wheeler.

Belles raise money for St. Petersburg's Christmas Toy Shop 12/13/08 [Last modified: Saturday, December 13, 2008 3:31am]
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