Wine, Women & Shoes

Writer / Stephanie Carlson

Wine pairings mingled with pairs of stylish shoes, clothing boutiques and a sizable group of women makes for a fun and fashionable fundraiser. The inaugural Wine, Women & Shoes event held at the Lucas Oil Mansion attracted a sell-out crowd of 380 paid attendees and raised over $175,000 for Gleaners Food Bank.

“There are 313,880 food insecure people in the Gleaners service area and many do not know how they will get their next meal. One-third, or 104,730, of those lacking food are children,” said Jennifer Schwent, event planner for Gleaners. “All proceeds go to Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana. The funds will support our childhood initiative programs including “BackSacks: Weekend Food for Kids.”

According to Gleaners, hungry Hoosiers miss more than 179 million meals each year, which equals about 57 million meals in Gleaners’ service area; those missed meals account for more than 215 million pounds of food.

“The faces of hunger will surprise you. While the homeless continue to be the most visible, many who need food assistance now are middle class families, children, the elderly, and the working poor,” explained Schwent. “The recession, slow economic recovery, and continued high unemployment left many Hoosiers struggling to make ends meet.”

Jill Schuman, co-chair of the event along with Heidi Dilger, was thrilled about the day’s success. “Gleaners pitched the idea of teaming up with Wine, Women & Shoes, enjoying a day with our girlfriends—shopping, eating and wine tasting—while raising money for a good cause.” Upon arrival at the party, “Shoe Guys” greet the guests, presenting the latest shoe trend along with a glass of champagne on a silver tray. “The darling celebrity Shoe Guys who volunteered to wait on the guests were irresistible and charming. We loved the idea and it worked.”

Wine, Women & Shoes originated in Napa Valley, California, and has become a popular sophisticated fundraising platform. Now in its tenth year, it has managed more than 175 events and raised $20 million for charity partners.

For more information, visit winewomenandshoes.com/gleaners or contact Jennifer Schwent, Gleaners Events Manager, at events@gleaners.org.