River Hills woman throws a good party for a good cause

Special to The HeraldApril 23, 2013 

  • About CAAC

    • The Clover Area Assistance Center serves residents within the Clover School District with a food pantry, financial assistance, health services (medical and dental) for the uninsured and special-need items. It is a United Way of York County agency.

    CAAC, at 1130 S.C. 55 East in Clover, has the largest food pantry in western York County, serving 350 households per month. Operating hours are 1-4 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-noon Thursdays.

    The organization has 110 volunteers, 80 that work weekly and 30 that work at least once a month.

  • Want to help?

    For information on volunteering with or donating to the Clover Area Assistance Center, go to cloverareaassistance .org.

— Judy Brown throws a good party.

The 73-year-old River Hills resident has been helping organize the annual gala that benefits the Clover Area Assistance Center for at least seven years.

This year, the sold-out event, “An Evening in the Orient,” begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, outside Belmont, N.C.

“It’s going to be a festive, pretty theme,” said Brown, who works year-round with a committee of 14 to organize the gala that includes live and silent auctions. “The generosity of people just blows your mind.”

Last year, the 200-person gala raised about $43,000 for CAAC, a charity that helps those in need within the Clover School District with food, money and health services. It is the largest fundraiser of the year for the organization.

Brown is among 110 community volunteers at CAAC who work at least once a month to help their neighbors in need.

“She’s a 150-percent person with a wonderful personality,” said Karen van Vierssen, CAAC’s executive director. “We jokingly refer to her as ‘Downtown Judy Brown.’ She’s social and dynamic, and if she doesn’t know someone, she meets them.”

Clover and Lake Wylie residents such as Brown are incredibly generous and like to take care of their own, van Vierssen said.

Peggy Hormberg, a fellow committee member, considers the gala the community’s social event of the year.

The auctioneer is Ernest Perry, owner of Perry’s Estate Jewelry in SouthPark. Liquor and wine are donated by Lake Wylie Liquors. The auction includes everything from floral arrangements for a year, valued at $350, to a $2,000 string of pearls. There is a resort weekend, a homemade casserole-and-pies package and custom jewelry.

“It’s happening; it’s a big social event,” said Hormberg, 70, of River Hills, who has her eye on the flower arrangement package. “People look forward to it.”

Brown may bid on a wine tasting for 20 from Total Wine, a spa package or a cocktail cruise on Lake Wylie. She has come together with a few friends to offer a country breakfast for 12, a $250 value.

Brown excels in building relationships, Hormberg said. Year after year, her friend pulls together vendors, sponsors, auction items and a wonderful gala committee. The night is memorable.

But it’s really the money they raise for CAAC that makes the gala so much fun.

“I can’t imagine what families would do without help from Clover Area Assistance,” Hormberg said. “We provide food for hundreds of families every month.”

Brown enjoys speaking with all the attendees at the gala, all of whom attend for the right reasons.

“That’s a great deal of money we raise in one night,” she said. “People are very generous and like supporting their community.”

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