Ain’t Life Grand-ish: Head to historic Boyd Farm for unique spin on Rockwall Meals on Wheels’ annual gala

Come as you are or dress for the Jazz Age. Gala organizers have fashioned a one-of-a-kind, outdoor, socially distanced, Roaring Twenties-themed, drive-in/drive-thru experience that’s sure to be the bee’s knees! Photo by Marissa Zillioux.

ROCKWALL, TX (September 23, 2020) Planning a fundraiser in the midst of a pandemic has its challenges, but for Development Director Maureen Cook, turning obstacles into opportunities is what she does best – especially when she has the support of gala committee co- chairs Amy Lawrence and Tracey Landry.

Produced by BRN Media.

Meals on Wheels Senior Services of Rockwall County relies on its annual fundraising gala to sustain its mission of keeping elderly and disabled citizens living in their homes as long as safely possible through nutritious meals, daily human contact, and supportive services.

“Thank you Meals on Wheels for the delicious meals. Nowadays it is so difficult for me to shop, prepare meals and drive because of my disabilities and poor eyesight. You are a true lifesaver!” ~ Kirk I., MOWSS client 

When stay-at-home orders were issued back in March due to the Coronavirus, MOWSS’ kitchen at Rockwall ISD’s Quest Academy closed and daily meal deliveries were suspended. MOWSS had to adapt quickly to a new meal service provider with new procedures and delivery methods, all while experiencing a rapid increase in demand for services. Today, rather than daily meal deliveries, over 350 clients receive emergency meals weekly. According to Executive Director Margie Verhagen, MOWSS is on pace to serve a record 90,000 to 95,000 meals this fiscal year.



New spin on classic theme

As MOWSS Development Director, Maureen knew the best way to re-invent this year’s gala was to enlist the help of creative minds. Amy, of Amy Joyce Designs, and Tracey, who owns The Tiniest Detail, are both Rockwall-based interior design specialists. Together with a team of energetic volunteers, they fashioned a one-of-a-kind, outdoor, socially distanced, Roaring Twenties-themed, drive-in/drive-thru gala experience for MOWSS that’s sure to raise funds as well as eyebrows.

Entrance to the historic Boyd Farm, off North Highway 205. Photo by Danielle Rankin.

The Ain’t Life Grand-ish event will be Saturday, October 24 at the historic Boyd Farm, located off North Highway 205 (near Highway 78) in Collin County. The 2500 acre farm, owned and restored by real estate professional Joe Katin of Rockwall, was the site of MOWSS’ 2019 gala as well.

Boyd Farm occupies 2,500 acres of land. Owned by Rockwall’s Joe Katin, the property has undergone significant renovations while maintaining the farm’s historic roots and rustic feel. Photo by Danielle Rankin.

“We understand that folks are concerned about large group gatherings, and last year’s gala drew over 500 people. That’s why we’re so excited to have found a way to move ahead with this year’s gala in a safe, fun and socially responsible way,” said Maureen.

Without having to leave your parking spot, gala-goers will be transported back in time to an era when cloche hats, headbands and drop-waist dresses were all the rage, when flapper girls with bobbed hair and bee-stung lips kicked up their heels for unfettered fun. Socially-distanced parking stations will allow for guests to relax either in their cars or outside their vehicles in lawn chairs. Toyota of Rockwall, longtime MOWSS supporters, will guide motorists to their private parking space.

Maureen Cook, MOWSS Development Director, and Margie VerHagen, MOWSS Executive Director (front row, far right), are joined by Rockwall County Judge David Sweet, Eddie Deen, and gala committee co-chairs and volunteers. Photo by Richard Redig, BRN Media.
Upon entering Boyd Farm for the gala, guests will receive a charcuterie board, followed by a variety of mouth watering specialties prepared and served by Eddie Deen. Photo by Richard Redig, BRN Media.

Live music by Michael Summers and 30 Miles East will fill the air, along with the aroma of freshly prepared, mouth-watering favorites served up with charcuterie boards by Eddie Deen. Beverages will be available (no coolers allowed, please).  Don’t forget the live auction and raffle prizes, too!

“This fall when I was discharged from the hospital Meals on Wheels was at my door the same day. I’ll never forget the wonderful volunteer brought me a beautiful card and flowers and even went into my kitchen to get me eating utensils! I am so grateful for the services this organization provides!” ~ Carol B., MOWSS Client 

Choose Your Experience

Can’t stay? Don’t feel comfortable in a crowd? Come early during a designated time to pick up your dinner to go. The curbside drive-through option is available for those wishing to enjoy their charcuterie boards in the comfort of their home, watching the event unfold via livestream on Facebook.

Delicious delicacies like these have been taste-tested by gala volunteers to ensure the evening’s offerings will taste as good as they look! Photo by Richard Redig, BRN Media.

Admission and Sponsorships

General gala admission is $150 and includes dinner for two, with one charcuterie board. To purchase admission tickets, go to bidpal.net/mealstogo20/ticketing (also go to rockwallmealsonwheels.org).

The Kitschy Cupboard / Dee Evans Group is already on board as a Grand Ole’ Sponsor, as well as several Swag Bag Sponsors. Additional sponsorships at various levels are still available.

Raffle Tickets & Live Auction

Raffle prizes will be given away throughout the evening. Purchase raffle tickets in advance at $20 each or six for $100. Additional raffle tickets may be purchased via car hops during the event. Live auction items will be available for bidding.

Rockwall County Judge David Sweet meets with Amy Lawrence and Maureen Cook at Bin 303, where gala volunteers gathered to prepare food samples. David will serve as emcee for the Ain’t Life Grand-ish event. Photo by Richard Redig, BRN Media.

“Fundraising events are vital to fulfilling our mission,” said Maureen. “Purchasing just one ticket (dinner for two) to the gala will provide over 22 meals to local seniors. For tickets, sponsorships, donations, or volunteer opportunities, visit rockwallmealsonwheels.org or call 972-771-9514.”

By Dawn Redig, Blue Ribbon News. Blue Ribbon News/BRN Media is a proud Media Sponsor.

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