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The Crowd: Wallets open for people in need

October 17, 2012|By B.W. Cook
  • Helene An , Dick and Kim Crawford and Elizabeth An at the 2012 SPIN gala “A Red Carpet Moment.”
Helene An , Dick and Kim Crawford and Elizabeth An at the… (Daily Pilot )

Organizers called the event "A Red Carpet Moment."

The evening of gourmet food and wine benefiting Serving People in Need (SPIN) unfolded Saturday at the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort, Huntington Beach. The spectacular benefit, produced by the board of directors of SPIN chaired by Al DeGrassi, executive vice president of Plaza Bank, in association with Jean Wegener, executive director of the SPIN staff, attracted a sold-out crowd of nearly 300 guests in black tie raising an impressive $190,000 net. The money will fund SPIN programs aiding Orange County homeless and working poor citizens.

The 23rd annual dinner gala welcomed celebrity guest chef Helene An and her daughter Elizabeth An, both of the AnQi and Crustacean restaurant dynasty. The An family joined forces with Hilton Executive Chef Jeff Littlefield preparing and serving a fabulous four-course dinner that began with a chilled lobster corn soup followed by a miso smoked salmon plate, an entrée of shoyu-braised beef short rib ending with a passion fruit cream and plum wine tropical fruit tart for dessert. The elegant crowd raved over the dinner, offering the chefs and their culinary staff a standing ovation as they entered the ballroom to accept the accolades of their audience.

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While the annual gala is an elegant affair by all standards, its purpose is basic and simple. Funds raised go to support three crucial programs that SPIN has operated in Orange County since Sam Boyce founded the nonprofit in 1987. Richard Crawford, SPIN board member and dedicated homeless advocate, joined his wife, Kim, sharing with guests the purpose of SPIN.

"SPIN operates three programs," he said. "The first of which is known as GAPP [Guided Assistance to Permanent Placement], which helps low-income, homeless and working-poor families with children providing move-in costs for permanent housing. The SARP program [Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program] enables those in need access to a recovery home. This may be the result of substance abuse, and the road to counseling, employment assistance and case management leading to sobriety and recovery is part of the program. And SPIN's street services prepares and delivers meals, hygiene kits, clothing and referrals to shelters each and every week to Orange County homeless."

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