When was the last time you were at a benefit where the chef explained how each wine had inspired a course? No wonder the Fall Gala Wine Dinner for The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children at The Metropolitan Club, with honorees Anne and Bob Arns Napa Valley’s Tournesol wines and Annisa Chef and “Cooking Without Borders” author Anita Lo’s culinary creations, was almost double the size of last year. Having Jay McInerney as “Sommelier of the Evening” and Deborah Norville hosting didn’t hurt, either.
“It was an evening where you could really relax with good food, good wine, good conversation and to get to know about the organization,” said Co-Chair Dr. Penny Grant.
Bon Vivant McInerney remembered when, in earlier days, the editor of “House and Garden” asked him to do a wine column. He told her, “‘I love wine but I don’t feel confident about writing about wine.’ She said, ‘Jay, you love wine and you’re a good writer.’ And it’s certainly true I love wine.”
Yet, despite the flowing wine, there was a sobering note: The front page story about a two year old girl beaten to death by her mother’s boyfriend. “That little girl is the reason we are here tonight,” a committed Deborah Norville told the room. “No child should be in that situation: a two-year-old being beaten before she even had a chance to know what life was about.
“Here in New York City, every day 245 cases of child abuse are reported. And we all know there are so many instances that go unreported.” One of the first lines of defense in the fight to protect and heal abused and neglected children, The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC), provides counseling, legal and educational services, and works to build safe families.
“Every day,” Norville continued, “it’s the society that is called by the Commissioner’s office, by the family court, by the schools, by the foster care agencies, to get involved, roll up their sleeves and to help these abused kids … the ones that you hear about on the news and read about in the front page of the paper. … The great news is, what they do in the society works.” The evening benefitted the NYSPCC’s Trauma Recovery Program.
“Children who experience adverse childhood events have a certain greater risk of medical health issues that are costly to the society as a whole,” Dr Grant told us. “As a child abuse pediatrician, I saw girls who are sexually abused, with mothers who would admit they were abused as children. They never got help because they didn’t know it was available. Unable to change the dynamics, their child became a victim as well. Sometimes the children we see are not ready to talk about what happened. But they need to know that someone is there who validates and makes them feel safe. Child abuse takes that away from them.” The Hamptons is the next stop in Penny Grant’s mission on behalf of the NYSPCC. She’s been attending her friends’ charity events out here for the past few summers. Now, she promises to throw one of her own.
Joan Granlund was the evening’s Dinner Chair. Other Co-Chairs were Lou Buglioli, Neil and Amanda Friedman, Maarit and Thomas H. Glocer, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Valesca Guerrand-Hermès, Tania Higgins, Deborah Norville and Karl Wellner, M. David and Mary Alice Sherrill.
Also in the elegantly appointed room: Board President David Stack, Jean Shafiroff (wearing Cuban American Designer Fabiola Arias), Michel Witmer, Barbara Regna, Fox News’ Kimberly Guilfoyle, “Avenue” magazines Randy Schatz, Janna Bullock, Kathleen Giordano, Victor de Souza, who makes gowns for many of the girls, and Madame Paulette owner John Mahdessian, who cleans and stores them.