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February 24, 2011 - VOA's Red Wine & Seafood serves up a taste of New Awlins

What: Mardi Gras/French Quarter-themed fundraiser with Cajun-inspired food plus wine, live jazz and silent auction

Where: The Oxford Hotel

When: Thursday, February 24, 2011

Time: 6-9 p.m.

Ticket Prices: $75

Beneficiary: Volunteers of America's Brandon Center/Theodora House, shelters for homeless women, and abused women and their children

Grand Marshal(s): Sharon Magness Blake, Pat Cortez, Jean Galloway and Susan Kiely

Gala Chairperson(s): Monica Owens and Quinn Washington

Libations: Southern Wine & Spirits

Catering: McCormick's Fish House & Bar, featuring recipes by Executive Chef Stephen Vice

Sponsors: McCormick's Fish House & Bar; Southern Wine & Spirits

Menu: Shrimp and crab boil; French Quarter specialties

Attendance: 200

Attire: Business casual and festive with Mardi Gras colors encouraged


Event Coordinator: Michael James, Development Director

Planning Committee: Vincent Abrue, Jennifer Daurio, Emma Keyser, Lauren Lamb, Frances Owens, Elizabeth Ryan, Kate Sutton and Faye Washington

Board of Directors: For a complete list, please visit

Blacktie Photos by: Lisa Perry

 Co-chairs Quinn Washington and Monica Owens
Co-chairs Quinn Washington and Monica Owens

With a shrimp-and-crab boil, spicy jambalya and luscious red-velvet cake served to the tune of live Dixieland jazz, Volunteer of America’s Red Wine & Seafood event brought the spirit of "New Awlins" to partygoers in Denver. On Thursday, Feb. 24, around 200 purple-beaded revelers enjoyed a taste of the French Quarter and an early Mardi Gras celebration in The Oxford Hotel’s festive ballroom. The evening's proceeds benefited VOA’s Brandon Center/Theodora House shelters for homeless women, and abused women and their children.

Monica Owens and Quinn Washington co-chaired the 16th annual event, while Sharon Magness Blake, Pat Cortez, Jean Galloway and Susan Kiely served as grand marshals. VOA’s president and CEO Dianna Kunz was also on hand to discuss how funds raised impact the organization's shelters. Guests bid on an array of silent auction enticements, including a Napa Valley winetasting adventure as well as a coveted Chauncey Billups basketball jersey, autographed by the recently traded Denver Nuggets favorite.

McCormick’s Fish House & Bar Executive Chef Stephen Vice presided over the Cajun-inspired menu—he was also on hand for the inaugural version of this VOA fundraiser. Guests were treated to a dozen take-home recipe cards of down-home favorites served at the event. Southern Wine and Spirits provided wine samples to complement the entire seafood-and-dessert buffet, while Andrew Hudson’s Dixieland Jamboree provided Southern sounds that inspired a number of impromptu dance moves.

More than 30 human-service programs run by Volunteers of America help low-income families and children, homebound seniors, plus women and children seeking refuge from domestic violence and homelessness. Brandon Center/Theodora House is an emergency shelter for homeless women with children, as well as single women. The shelter provides assistance to those seeking refuge from domestic violence and offers individual and group counseling, parent education, housing referral assistance, a children’s program, GED classes and employment skills acquisition. Residents receive in-depth case management and can stay at the center up to 90 days while working to meet their personalized goals. With the support of a caring staff, the key objective is for women to become self-sufficient with regard to employment, education and housing. For more information, go to


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