The United Nations calls it a world emergency: A record 1 billion people are reported to be hungry worldwide.
"Hunger is real," says Jane Egbert, executive of the St. Petersburg Free Clinic, which held its 30th annual "Soup's On" luncheon in the campus activity center at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.
More than 1.3 million pounds of food were donated through the nonprofit organization last year, and still the needs are grave.
Many of the more than 100,000 reported hungry in the county have been "caught in the wake of a speed boat known as recession," said Dick Crippen, senior adviser to the Tampa Bay Rays and the keynote speaker.
Catherine McGarry and Elise Minkoff co-chaired the luncheon, leading a committee that included Mary Wyatt Allen, Jim Annarelli, Bea Bryan, Carol Fisher, Beth Houghton, Sharon Jackson, Ted Mallin, Tinker McKee, Sally Poynter, Stephanie Renica, Edie Spies, Trish Thomas, Ann Vickstrom, Sherwood White and Connie Whitehead.
The Junior League of St. Petersburg's second annual Partnership Ball was a fundraiser for league projects and for the Florida Holocaust Museum. Beyond the charitable calling, it was a chance to dress up, and numerous patrons went the extra mile with vintage and vintage-inspired clothing, hairstyles, makeup and props.
"Guise and Dolls, A Masquerade Gala from the Golden Age of Hollywood," was the theme for the party, where gaming tables and "cigarette girls" added to the festive atmosphere at Clearwater's Feather Sound Country Club. (The games were in fun, and the smokes were candy.)
The event committee included chairwoman Jenna Worden-Brooks, Amy Walters, Stacy Brandenstein, Mollie Featherstone, Carol Phelps, Stephanie Sikes, Tirrah Switzer, Laura Topliffe, Kristin Connell, Donna Mainguth, Elise Schreiner, Brooke Smith, Alyson Terrell and Tiffany Webb.
With outdoor temperatures finally tolerable, "Gala's Half-Dressed Carnivale" paid homage to the costume parties once hosted by artist Salvador Dalí and his wife, Gala. The evening was a celebration of construction progress at the new Dalí Museum site adjacent to the Mahaffey Theater at the Progress Center for the Arts in St. Petersburg, and what a celebration it was.
Costumed models and servers blended with costumed revelers, included museum director Hank Hine, Laura Tillinghast and Eugenie Bondurant, who made a cameo appearance as Gala. Architect Yann Weymouth was there, too, and the crowd swelled as people who had attended the Florida Orchestra's annual concert in Vinoy Park wandered over after the fireworks display there.