Pat Murphy …Staged Homes just staged a terrific fund raiser for Operation Hope. On Saturday Dec. 10 as I sat in a comfortable booth of the Village Café, I spotted Santa Claus. He was standing in the street in front of 335 Main St. in downtown historic Vista. As cars came by he appeared to be calling out to them. Some cars stopped and some drivers just waived and kept going by.
I was curious as to what was taking place so after paying my bill I walked across and down the street to Staged Homes Realty. As I approached the holiday decorated front door three very cute kids came bursting out. They were laughing and happily running around. They weren’t paying much attention to Saint Nick who was still at the curb trying to attract any attention he could garner.
I was still admiring the cheerfulness of the scene when Trish Avey and Sara McCreery approached me asking if I wanted to purchase raffle tickets. It’s hard to say no to a pretty girl, let alone two, but I wanted to know who would benefit from the ticket sale. Trish put any concerns I had away as she explained that the “party” was a fund raiser for Operation Hope. I know this Vista organization well and I was all aboard for helping to support it.
Operation Hope provides shelter and HOPE for Homeless single women and women with children. As of July this year, the shelter went from being seasonal to providing help to homeless women year round. Specialized case management and guidance is provided with the goal of attaining self-sufficiency. The Shelter is maintained as a collaborative effort of the Cities of Vista, San Marcos and other government agencies, social service agencies, faith communities, foundation and corporate support, organizations and individual volunteers.
After buying my raffle tickets I was invited inside to place my tickets in mason jars in front of an assortment of gift baskets. I was also offered some yummy appetizers and tantalizing food donated by Antica Trattoria. French wine was available compliments of Luc Bonhomme the CEO of LVW (loirevalleywineries.com). Unfortunately, I had to forgo all these delicacies since earlier in the day (a few hours prior) we had attended a large Holiday party. I just had no more place to put any food or drink.
Pianist and vocalist Jim Bianchi was entertaining everyone as I roamed around looking at the decorations and gift baskets. Realtor Agent Christina Pillitteri was helping Bianchi with a Holiday tune and I had just missed hearing her husband, an opera singer, before he had to leave on business. In the back room where all the food was laid out, I ran into Operation Hope Board President Cindy Taylor and Interim Secretary, Bea Palmer. Also enjoying the peaceful area was the Operation Hope Director of Community Engagement, Beth Brainerd Hallock and her husband Frank.
It’s really heartwarming to see local businesses go way out to help local charities that are working hard to help those in need. Staging a Santa Claus in the middle of Main Street was ingenious. Oh yes, I need to mention that Santa Claus was portrayed by Travis Avey. That’s right, he is Trish’s brother and Travis and Trish are the grown offspring of Debbie Avey-Cortez one of the real estate agency’s two owners. This family knows how to stage a fundraising party.