Escape for a Cause
This year’s Tablescapes event, put on by the Hinsdale Auxiliary of the Infant Welfare Society, of Chicago promises to impress and inspire guests yet again with tables set to the theme of eight iconic Chicago neighborhoods. Tablescapes “Chicago, Our Kind of Town!” will be held on Saturday, February 11, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Oak Brook Hills Marriott Resort.
Now in its 14th year, the annual event began as a different kind of ladies’ day out to raise money for the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago’s health care services. Each year, the Auxiliary Board chooses a theme for the tables to be unveiled the day of the event. Committees work on their respective tables for months to design the sometimes lavish, often outlandish, and always highly creative and surprising table “scapes.”
two-thousand eights’ “Life Imitates Art” Tablescape used art to inspire each committee’s representation of famous paintings, sculptures, and even a suit of armor. In 2010, the Auxiliary presented “A Marketplace in Bloom” that delighted the senses with the most exquisite flowers, scents, textures, and colors. This year’s committees will present their highly creative interpretations of Chicago neighborhoods including Wrigley Field, the Lakefront, Chinatown, the Gold Coast, Little Italy, Greektown, Old St. Pat’s, and Logan Square.
Dee Koffron, this year’s president of the Hinsdale Auxiliary, initially joined the Board in 2007 after she attended her first Tablescapes with her mother. “When I went to the Infant Welfare Clinic in Chicago and saw that the poor were working hard and paying whatever they could for health services, I realized we are partnering with them instead of giving handouts. Infant Welfare has figured out how to treat people with respect and not humiliate them.”
“I like that we are enriching the lives of Chicagoans,” adds Linda Flaherty, co-chair of this year’s event. “The organization has survived and evolved for over 100 years to enable women to get prenatal care that they wouldn’t otherwise get.”
“I love Tablescapes because it’s different from a fashion show,” says co-chair Cynthia Scholl, who’s been an Auxiliary Board member for 10 years, including one term as president. “Each table committee works within a fairly tight budget so it gives guests ideas of fun things to do to change up their homes easily and reasonably. And it’s an opportunity for all of us to get together on a Saturday during the day, catch up with friends, and have fun while raising money for Infant Welfare.”
It’s hard to believe that a group of only 35 Auxiliary members organizes this event that draws close to 400 attendees every year. Rather than reproduce the same format year after year, they strive to keep it fresh by changing it up from time to time.
This year, the Board planned a champagne brunch with the theme “Chicago, Our Kind of Town!” Each attendee will have a seat at a table, but rather than be served a sit-down meal, guests will mingle and circulate among the various buffet stations, vendors, themed tables, entertainment, and auction items.
Irish dancers will perform near the St. Patrick’s Tablescape, where Irish coffee will be served. Hispanic food tasting will be offered near the Logan Square Tablescape. And it is rumored that Chicago’s famous Bucket Boys will entertain that day. About 20 local and Chicago vendors and artisans will be selling items such as jewelry, handbags, clothing, and candles.
Silent auction items include stays at 5-star hotels from New York, Chicago, and Scottsdale; Chicago Blackhawks on-the-glass tickets; condo stays in Steamboat Springs and Maui; tickets for Ravinia Festival and the Goodman Theatre; a sailing trip on Lake Michigan; and a three-month scholarship to School of Rock.
Last but not least, the raffle drawing is the much-anticipated grand finale each year because several lucky winners will each go home with one of the actual Chicago Tablescapes—including every single item that was used to create and set the table. Don’t miss the opportunity to attend this truly inspiring ladiesonly event that last year raised approximately $82,000 to directly benefit the Infant Welfare Clinic.
Tablescapes “Chicago, Our Kind of Town!” will be held at the Oak Brook Hills Marriott Resort on February 11. For more information about joining the Auxiliary Board and tickets, visit hinsdaletablescapes.com, or call Arlene Simunek at 630-294-9914. Group tables for 10 people are available.
—Words by Elaine Doremus Slayton; Photographed by Jim Prisching
WHAT IS IWS?
Now in its 101st year, IWS provides Chicago’s low-income, uninsured women and children (up to age 19) with integrated, preventive medical, dental, and mental health services. IWS also offers underserved mothers prenatal, gynecological care, general health services, and parenting information.
IWS serves more than 2,000 patients per month—61% live at or below the poverty line, and less than 1% are covered by private insurance.
The Infant Welfare Society Auxiliary plays a vital role in the success of IWS. More than 750 members from 16 area chapters volunteer thousands of hours and host fundraisers to support the health care services IWS provides.
Organized in 1913, the Hinsdale chapter raised $172,947 in 2011 and contributed 5,978 volunteer hours to IWS.
For more information, visit infantwelfaresociety.org