A day of women, wine and shoes…A weekend of food for children Writer / Janelle Morrison Photographer / JJ Kaplan In the words of the iconic Marilyn Monroe, “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” In the case of some dedicated local women fundraisers, “Give them the right shoes, and they can conquer a worthy cause.” In previous years, the Women, Wine & Shoes event has been the toast of the town when it comes to feeding chronically hungry children through Gleaners BackSacks Weekend Food for Kids program. Last year’s fundraiser hosted 400 guests, targeting high income women aged 30-55+ and has raised nearly $200,000 annually to fund the Gleaners program. Held at the opulent Lucas Oil Estate, the fashionable midday event will be hosted on Friday, May 13 in Carmel for its third annual year. The fundraiser’s heritage comes from an established fundraising corporation that began over a decade ago. Wine, Women & Shoes originated in Napa Valley, California, and has become a popular sophisticated fundraising platform. The WW&S® team has managed more than 175 events and raised over $37 million for their charity partners that includes the local event benefitting Gleaners. Inspired by the classic country ballad “Wine, Women and Song,” this unique concept offers both charity and corporate clients the opportunity to leverage their successful platform to achieve a variety of goals from charity fundraising and cause awareness to team building and client networking. The event will boast world-class wine tastings, gourmet treats, an exclusive fashion lounge, shopping opportunities for the latest in shoe fashions, a silent auction and of course the company of the striking “Shoe Guys.” What woman could possibly resist a hunky man who knows the difference between a wedge and a platform pump? The Shoe GuysTM are one of the highlights of a WW&S® event. These attractive, fit and friendly guys may look like models, but they are men from the community who support the cause and are willing to brave a party full of women. Jill Schuman, co-chair of the event, spoke about the collaborative efforts that go into organizing this incredible event and the purpose that continues to motivate her and her co-chairs. “We have been thrilled with the previous years’ success,” Schuman said. “It all began when Gleaners pitched the idea of teaming up with Wine, Women & Shoes, enjoying a day with our girlfriends shopping, eating and wine tasting while raising money for a good cause. It is a relaxing and enjoyable midday event that is designed to be different from a typical black-tie evening gala.” Schuman mentioned that guests will be able to experience a wide selection of wines and delectable foods from local sponsors and restaurants. There will be 10 local vendors and restaurants on-site. As another way to raise money that day, the vendors will donate back 20 percent of the purchases made by the attendees. They will also be able to participate in a variety of contests, and the most incredible raffle prize is a key to a magnificent wardrobe closet, constructed on-site by California Closets and filled with over $12,000 of merchandise, gift certificates and other incredible prizes donated by the 10 vendors at the event. There will be 160 tickets sold at $160 per ticket, and at the end of the event, the lucky ticket holder will take home all of the prizes and the opportunity to have California Closets come to their home and build a custom closet. In the closet are hidden boxes with additional prizes such as a certificate to purchase a pair of designer shoes with the assistance of a personal shopper at Saks Fifth Avenue at the Keystone Fashion Mall and other elaborate and fun gifts. “This year’s event will feature the Saks Fashion Lounge,” Schuman added. “There will be a bar and music in this area. We will have a live auction with some incredible donated items, and we will have a presentation for our guests on the Gleaners BackSacks Weekend Food for Kids program and how the event and all of its components supports Gleaners. We will also have a ‘Fund a Need’ segment. There will be several photo opps and fun contests such as ‘Best Shoes’ and ‘Best in Dress.’” Schuman also expressed that one of the more unique and entertaining parts about the event is the presence of their Shoe Guys. “Our Shoe Guys are absolutely phenomenal,” she said. “We will have ‘shoe cards’ with each of their faces printed on the cards. Our guests will vote for their favorite Shoe Guy, voting through the Gleaners website during the event. They can donate as little as a dollar or whatever amount that they wish. Whichever Shoe Guy wins the most votes will be honored and recognized on stage and is awarded some fun gifts. In the past, we have awarded them fun trips and even a foursome at Crooked Stick Golf Course. “I would really like to emphasize that all of our gifts and prizes are generously donated by our amazing donors and sponsors who are very supportive of this event. We couldn’t do these things without them. I also work with an amazing committee of dedicated women who are very talented and focus on making their parts of the event successful, entertaining and fun. We identify the list of things that need to be done and then we divide and conquer.” The event is supported by a plethora of community and corporate sponsors such as Moyer Fine Jewelers, Saks Fifth Avenue, Pillow Talk, Sullivan’s Steakhouse and so many more wonderful local businesses. For a complete list of this year’s sponsors and supporters, visit gleaners.org. Carmel Magazine will be the exclusive print media sponsor, so look for photos from the event in their June issue.