Gingerbread party raises funds for WINGS
Honorary gala chairmen Thomas S. Ricketts, owner of the Chicago Cubs, with wife Cecilia “Cece” of Wilmette | Lee Litas~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 6, 2013 7:00PM
The Event: Big effort was poured into small-scale construction on Dec. 9 by more than 200 youngsters who helped kick the holidays into high gear erecting gingerbread houses at the WINGS’ ninth annual Sweet Home Chicago benefit held in the Grand Ballroom of the Four Seasons Hotel.
Considered the most successful brunch fundraiser in Chicago, the event drew 480 attendees to help raises funds for WINGS (Women in Need Growing Stronger), an organization supporting women and children affected by domestic violence.
Located in Rolling Meadows, the WINGS shelter is currently a safe house for 35 women. Its staff helps them become emotionally and financially independent by providing a family lifestyle for as long as two-years. It is almost exclusively privately funded through donations, revenues from its three resale shops and annual benefits.
Cause célèbre: “This is an issue that no one talks about but it is there,” said WINGS’ board chairman Rita Canning. And benefit co-chairman Anna Bilton noted, “I can’t think of a better organization to help (other than) supporting women in need.”
In addition to being a fun event for kids, the fundraiser serves as a beacon for family unity and peace for the holidays. Three tables at the event were designated for inner city children to enjoy a holiday tradition they may not experience otherwise.
Tom Ricketts, owner of the Chicago Cubs and his wife Cece served as honorary chairman for the benefit. “If you take a look at what WINGS does, you realize it’s all very important, and one great way to support is to come to this event,” said Ricketts, noting that gingerbread houses have become a tradition in his own home.
Bottom line: The benefit raised $610,000 bringing the proceeds from Sweet Home Chicago to a total of $4 million over nine years.