At an inspiring, al fresco fête, A-List actors, creators and producers from television, film and music gathered to support the highly regarded non-profit organization Project Angel Food at the 17th Annual Angel Awards.
The spirited and unforgettable evening honored Pauley Perrette, Board Member and star of the CBS hit “NCIS,” with the Marianne Williamson Founder’s Award for her philanthropic leadership and her steadfast commitment to those fighting HIV/AIDS.
The Visionary Angel Award was presented to activist and Kiehl’s President Chris Salgardo. Salgardo has long been committed to Project Angel Food’s work, both personally and professionally; under Salgardo’s leadership, Kiehl’s has raised millions of dollars for HIV/AIDS organizations, children’s charities and environmental organizations.
A classic crystal bowl, symbolic of the hundreds of thousands of meals served by Project Angel Food each year, was bestowed upon the Honorees. Alan Cumming, star of “The Good Wife,” presented Salgardo with his award, accompanied by both charming anecdotes and a moving account of Salgardo’s ongoing work for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Reverend Kathy Cooper-Ledesma, Perrette’s pastor at the Hollywood United Methodist Church, presented her with the award, speaking of the love and inclusivity rightfully present at the church, as well as of the care and energetic commitment that Perrette has consistently shown.
Particularly compelling were Salgardo’s and Perrette’s acceptance speeches, which were profoundly inspiring to the audience.
Salgardo spoke beautifully of the roots of his personal commitment to the cause, which began early in the AIDS crisis and have carried through in even greater hands-on work and enthusiasm when he was recruited by Kiehl’s as Vice President of Sales in 2000 and promoted to President in 2006. Having been a personal supporter of Project Angel Food for twenty years, Salgardo humbly said, “I’m beyond words, I feel really honored to be here, to give back. As my grandmother always said, if you have the ability, you absolutely should give back.”
Perrette emphasized the aspect of fun in her charitable work, saying, “it’s not some chore that we should be doing somewhere, I really want to promote the fact that it’s fun, and that it’s good, and that really there is nothing on the planet earth – nothing -- that is going to make you feel better and make the world a better place. Just that.”
Paulette added, “There are so many ways to do it: your time, your money, sometimes just being kind. Every single day of our lives is a day that we’re giving to do something kind for someone else.”
“Tonight was truly special,” said PR Shop L.A. Owner and CEO Scott Bussell, who handled publicity for the event. “Not only were we able to have an amazingly time celebrating two individuals who could not be more deserving of the recognition they received; but we also got a chance to hear what drives and motivates them. I'm in awe of both Pauley and Chris.”
Salgardo and Paulette both acknowledged the volunteers, both in the audience and in the preparation and delivery of food. Project Angel Food is supported by over 60,000 hours of volunteer work each year.
Approximately 400 guests attended the event, which began with a red carpet attended by Perrette’s fellow cast members Rocky Carroll, Cote de Pablo, Brian Dietzen, and Meredith Eaton.
Also lending enthusiastic support to the organization were Perrette’s fiancé Thomas Arklie, Gilles Marini ("Dancing with the Stars - All Stars"), Susan Blakely (“Southland”) Annabeth Gish ("Pretty Little Liars"), Grant Reynolds ("Househusbands of Hollywood"), Tricia Helfer ("Battlestar Galactica"), Katee Sackhoff ("Longmire"), Kirsten Vangsness ("Criminal Minds"), Marguerite Moreau ("Shameless"), Mike Manning ("The Real World"), Kat Kramer ("Kat Kramer's Films That Change the World), Alex Boling ("Suburgatory"), Ken Davitian ("Borat"), Kenny Scharf (artist), Lisa Stanley (K-Earth Radio), Ali Vincent ("The Biggest Loser"), young actress Madison McLaughlin, one of last year's honorees Dante Di Loreto (Exec. Producer, "Glee"), Grammy winner Andrew Rannells ("Book of Mormon," "The New Normal"), Mila Hermanovski from "Project Runway" fame, Emmy-nominated designer Peter Gurski,
Board Members who attended the event include Board Chair Robin Fujimoto, Senior Managing Director, Third Avenue Management, who spoke at the event; Darren Star, Creator of "Sex and the City"; Chip Sullivan, Head of Publicity, Dreamworks Studios; Entertainment Business Manager John McIlwee and his partner Bill Damaschke, Chief Creative Officer, Dreamworks Animation; George Anderson, President, Creative Services at The Cimarron Group; Robert Bauer, Partner, Goldberg + Solovy Foods; Joseph Mannis, Esq., Mark Margolis, Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment; Shannon Millard, President, Roxbury Solutions; Peter Gurski, Designer; Dr. Faye Moseley, Senior Director, Human Resources, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf; and Wells Fargo VP Diana Rodriguez. Ardis Moe, Deborah McLeod, Liza Bernstein, Rod Carter, Lee Gonzalez, and Peter Helenek also serve on the Board.
Project Angel Food founder Marianne Williamson and co-founder David Kessler, who created the organization in 1989, were also in attendance.
Entertainment followed by the Harvard Yardbirds, singing a cappella, and later by Grammy-winner Andrew Rannells from Broadway’s “The Book of Mormon” and the new TV series “The New Normal,” accompanied on piano.
A particularly poignant moment occurred when Margaret Steele, CEO of the organization, took the stage to introduce Vietnam veteran and former client Calvin Garland, who spoke poignantly of how the daily meal service saved his life.
Another attraction of the evening was an extensive silent auction and live auction by “That Auction Girl” Vanessa Thanos, in which audience members playfully and enthusiastically vied for top items, events, and trips worldwide.
Money raised from the evening will assist in funding the preparation of over 13,000 nutritious meals a week, which Project Angel Food, with help from professional chefs and local volunteers, delivers to those with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life threatening illnesses in Los Angeles County. Project Angel Food delivered its 8 millionth meal in 2012.
With an evening sure to sell out early for the Angel Awards in 2013, the audience clearly has joined Project Angel Food, Kiehl’s, Salgardo and Perrette in fighting AIDS and supporting patients in the organization’s credo of “For Life, for Love, for as long as it takes.”
More information on Project Angel Food can be found on http://www.AngelFood.org. Products and info for gorgeous, healthy skin, along with information on Kiehls’ Charitable Giving Program, can be found at http://www.Kiehls.com.
*Photo by Scott Bussell, PR Shop L.A.
All other photos by Eric Charbonneau / Courtesy Project Angel Food