HOUSTON (February 17, 2020) – This year’s brunch honoree and longtime Animeals supporter Fred G. Marshall announced a $500,000 donation for the Linda and Fred Marshall Volunteer Welcome Center at Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston (Interfaith Ministries) at the 7th Annual Wags & Whiskers Brunch, formerly the Best Friends Brunch, on Saturday, February 8, 2020.
Puppy love and cat fever filled the air at Hotel Zaza in Houston’s Museum District as Brunch Chair M.A. Shute along with Honorary Chair Don A. Sanders hosted 200 guests who helped raise more than $112,000. The “On Broadway” themed brunch and pet fashion show benefited the Animeals program that provides free pet food and vet care to more than 1,300 dogs and cats of Interfaith Ministries’ Meals on Wheels homebound seniors.
Emcee Casey Curry welcomed the crowd and introduced Interfaith Ministries’ President and CEO, Martin B. Cominsky, who thanked the pet lovers in attendance. A multi-faith invocation was offered by Wags & Whiskers supporters from four different faith traditions: Bahai, Hindu, Christian, and Jewish. Brunch of tomato bisque en crute, house braised short ribs with goat cheese grits and balsamic Brussels sprouts followed and guests swooned over the triple chocolate mousse cake and truffle.
After a video message from Marshall, he took the stage along with Cominsky and Interfaith Ministries’ Chief Development Officer Maria Magee. The Marshalls have been the lead sponsors of the brunch every year and Marshall continues his late wife’s legacy of support to Animeals through donating and volunteering. The gift will allow Interfaith Ministries to expand its services to the community’s homebound seniors and their four-legged friends.
Curry introduced Animeals volunteer Sonya Reyna who shared heart-warming stories about the Animeals program and how it’s making a difference in the lives of homebound seniors and their furry companions. The event continued with the furry friend fashion show.
While the pets and pet parents headed to the catwalk to strut their stuff, guests were invited to bid on silent auction packages and purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win a trip to Pelican Reef Villas in Ambergris Caye, Belize. Houston’s own stage star Kristen Warren performed “Memories” from the Broadway musical CATS. The title of Animeals Top Pet from the fashion show judged by local celebrity and media judges was awarded to the Pink Ladies Bella and pet parent Karen Jankowski. Brunch Chair M.A. Shute held the winning ticket for the stay in Belize.
Animal lovers who gathered to support Animeals and Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston included: Susan Boggio, Tena Faust and Tama Lundquist, Kathy Sanders, Paula Sutton and Bill Gross, Bret Baccus, Nadia Tajalli and Dr. Shahin Tavackoli, Charles Foster, Henry Florsheim, Jerry Axelrod, and Anuradha and Dr. Mani Subramanian. Strutting their stuff in the fashion show included Freddy Cruz of KRBE, Matt Dulin of Community Impact Newspaper, and Steve Johnson with Walton & Johnson Radio.
Media judges for the pet fashion show included: Michelle Mantor, PetTalk Magazine; Lauren Anderson, ballerina and former principal dancer for the Houston Ballet; Jennifer Roosth, Society Texas Magazine; Lara Bell, Swoon Magazine; Valerie Sweeten, Hot in Houston Now; Sharron Melton, CW39; and Gail Delaughter, Houston Public Media.
The Brunch was made possible with the support of the following sponsors: Cat’s Meow Sponsors – Laura Moore & Don Sanders and Fred G. Marshall; Mamma Meow Sponsors – Kroger and Kathy Sanders; South Pawcific Sponsors – Susan Boggio, Karen Jankowski & Ed Donahue, Brigitte Kalai, Maureen Quirk & Lesley Harris, M.A. Shute, Nadia Tajalli & Dr. Shahin Tavackoli and Tracy & Connie Williford; Tony Award Sponsors – George L. Bell, Brenda Caillouet, Patricia Chazen, Charlene Chuang, Carrie M. Home, Christine & Steve Johnson, Ben T. Morris, A. Haag Sherman, Elizabeth C. Tate and Don Weir; and media sponsor – Houston Woman Magazine.