Sole Sisters luncheon steps up for Greenwich United Way
GREENWICH — For the 14th annual Sole Sisters luncheon, the granddaughter of a former president brought a message of hunger and hope to a sold-out crowd Tuesday at the Greenwich Country Club.
“Hunger effects one in nine people around the world, so often it is referred to as the birth lottery,” Lauren Bush Lauren said in her keynote speech at the fundraiser for the Greenwich United Way. “Because of where you’re born, you can be born into a life of hunger and food insecurity. Hunger, unfortunately, still kills more than AIDS, malaria and TB combined globally.”
Lauren is the founder and CEO of FEED, a lifestyle brand that has more behind it than just looking good. Since it was founded in 2007, FEED has provided more than 100 million meals to hungry people around the world.
For every purchase of a FEED bag, a direct meal donation is made, which is enough to feed 10 meals to a child in need. Lauren stressed the importance of combatting hunger — both globally and locally.
“And even here in our country with abundance, 42 million Americans are food insecure, which is kind of hard to believe,” said Lauren. “Even in Connecticut, half-a-million residents struggle with hunger, and more than 127,000 children are food insecure.”
David Rabin, CEO of the Greenwich United Way, said the money raised at the luncheon supports programs that help hundreds of people in the local community.
Some of those helped by the Greenwich United Way include the nearly 500 children who take part in the Reading Champion’s program, and the more than 200 children who are enrolled in the early childhood achievement gap solutions program.
Additionally, the Greenwich United Way funds agencies that provide more than 1,500 meals a year and more than 57,000 rides a year for elderly and disabled people.
“Chances are you walk by someone every single day who is touched by the Greenwich United Way,” Rabin said.
The Sole Sisters is the woman’s initiative of the Greenwich United Way, which was founded in 2005 as a way to learn about and address human services needs in town. Under the motto of “Women stepping up to help others step forward,” the funds from the luncheon will go to support the Greenwich United Way’s work in education, self-sufficiency and health.
A sold-out crowd of 415 people packed the Greenwich Country Club for the Sole Sisters luncheon. In addition to serving as one of the agency’s largest fundraisers of the year, the luncheon also raises awareness about the Greenwich United Way and its mission.
“We uncover unmet needs,” Rabin said. “We raise awareness and support. We develop lasting solutions. We find it. We fund it. We fix it. When we let everyone in Greenwich know what we do, we help so many people.”
Luncheon co-chairs Grace Lockhart Djuranovic and Kirsten Riemer also discussed the importance of the group’s work in the community to close the achievement gap and fund services for those residents who are the most vulnerable.
The work goes even further: The Sole Sisters helped Kids in Crisis in town by providing meals, Riemer said. And the Sole Sisters gave a boost to Neighbor to Neighbor by collecting more than 1,100 pairs of new and gently used shoes and socks for adults and children in a drive.
“We were truly overwhelmed by the generosity of our community and are so thrilled that so many in need will benefit from this initiative,” Riemer said.