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‘Mad Men’ event benefits food pantry

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Decked out in Mad Men-inspired attire, the ladies of the Woman’s Club of Evanston pulled out all the stops at their Spring Benefit at the Michigan Shores Club in Wilmette on behalf of the Hillside Food Pantry.

Event co-chairs Janice Hurley, Jeannine Burgdorf and Claire Strykowski put on a night to remember Saturday — from the vintage print ads that served as place cards to the musical selections that club members serenaded guests with as they sipped “Mad-tinis.”

In a film produced by Susan Hope Engel about the Hillside Food Pantry that premiered at the event, the pantry's director, Maiya Lueptow, and founders Faith and Mike Albano shared the story of how the pantry began in May 2009, developed into a community outreach ministry of Hillside Church,and mushroomed into a program that has impacted the lives of over 3,600 families, plus the hundreds of people who have volunteered there.

Woman’s Club President Anne Gilford and her husband Steve presided over the live auction that began with bids on nine brown bags of choice bottles of Scotch donated from Mr. Gilford’s personal collection. The highest bidder received first choice of the unmarked bags.

Philanthropy chair Helene Shapiro then challenged bidders to help purchase a gas generator and commercial refrigerators for the pantry as well as $100-1000 “bags of food” for distribution to pantry patrons.

“We have never had this kind of money to work with at the Pantry,” Lueptow said. “This is a game-changer for us. I’m excited by the possibilities this will open up for our patrons.”

Hillside Food Pantry distributes food to those in need on from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and 2 to 4 p.m. Saturdays. It imposes no income criteria or residential boundaries and currently serves an average of 500
families a week.

Top: Food pantry leaders Faith Albano, Maiya Lueptow, Valerie Veneziano and Susan Gottlieb.

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