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Major donations highlight Casita Linda Spirit of Hope gala

By Alexis White

It was sold out. It resulted in donations that will pay for the building of four more homes. And there will be more great news once the final tally regarding monies brought in through the selling of raffle tickets, an auction for American Airlines tickets, sales from the one-night-only Tiendita Linda boutique and other temptations have been finalized.

“What we do know right now,” noted Casita Linda president Saul Whynman, “is that our gala, Spirit of Hope: Celebrating 50 Homes and 50 Families, was a tremendous success. We are so appreciative of everyone who turned out for this special evening,” he said, “and especially to those who participated in a matching grant moment that will result in the construction of four additional homes we had not anticipated. And,” Whynman added, “we are most grateful to our celebrity guest chefs, Los Senderos, and more than a dozen other sponsors.

The dinner dance, which was held on October 13 at The Vineyard at Los Senderos, brought out many Casita Linda supporters and friends. The 200 guests danced under sparkling chandeliers in tented ceilings and dined on gourmet delights presented by Mexico’s top chefs, including Enrique Olvera of Pujol, Mikel Alonso of Biko, and Sonia Arias of Jaso. Pujol and Biko are ranked at 36 and 38, respectively, in Restaurant magazine’s The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2012. The chefs’ participation was coordinated by Joseba K. Encabo, a chef and professor at the Culinary Institute of America in New York.

One of the serendipitous moments of the evening came when Donna and Bud Philips, who have been thinking about where to celebrate their upcoming 50th wedding anniversary, won a seven-day/six-night vacation at Hotel Bahia de la Luna, Playa de Boquilla, Oaxaca, that had been donated by the resort.

In addition to the participation and donation of the chefs of Biko, Jaso and Pujol, gala sponsors included American Airlines, ArtPrint Express, BajioGO, Cafe Gourmet Express, Camino Silvestre, Casa Don Ramón, the Corcoran College of Art + Design, Don Pedro Grupo Ferreterro, Hotel Bahía de la Luna of Oaxaca, Los Senderos, Rose Ann Hall Designs and Exportadora Camino Norte, Ron Zacapa, Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, and Starbucks.

Casita Linda builds homes for families who have had little comfort or security living in small structures made from wood scraps, pieces of metal, stones, plastic and other cast-off materials which offer little protection from the elements. Children often have lived their entire lives without beds and lighting under which they are able to do their homework. Casita Linda homes have solid roofs and sturdy walls. Coupled with improved sanitation, they provide warm, dry and healthier living conditions for families, whose increased pride and self-esteem are very clear as they choose the colors to paint their new homes, fill their new surroundings with flowers and celebrate their hope for better futures.

For more information about the organization, including volunteer and donation opportunities, go to or email


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