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Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Annual Fling Gala goes virtual this fall

Helen Woodward Animal Center expanded its life-saving transfer program welcoming over 2,000 orphan pets since March.
Helen Woodward Animal Center expanded its life-saving transfer program welcoming over 2,000 orphan pets since March.
(Courtesy)

Helen Woodward Animal Center’s popular Spring Fling Gala is switching seasons. With the current pandemic putting large gatherings on hold, the Woodward Center’s largest fundraising event arrives this fall in an innovative new online format, celebrating the “jewels” that support the private nonprofit organization in the heart of Rancho Santa Fe. Animal-lovers are invited to take a tropical journey from the comfort of their own homes, Saturday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m.

Jewels of the Earth – A Tropical Escape at Home, presented by EDCO, will brighten up computer screens with a live complimentary one-hour program that animal-loving attendees can stream and enjoy. The moving broadcast will feature special guest appearances by Woodward Center supporters and their furry friends, heartwarming Woodward Center updates, a standup routine by comedian James Hancock III, a speed painting performance by Amy Burkman, and the adorable four-footed stars of the evening, the Woodward Center’s orphan pets.

The 2020 Jewels of the Earth gala committee is made up of passionate supporters of orphan pets. Back to co-chair for the second year in a row is longtime Woodward Center friend and supporter Jamie Carr, along with passionate animal-advocate Erin Combs. Other committee chairs include Vicki Brown and Mary Cuzens who are volunteering their planning talents to the glamorous virtual event.

Animal-lovers are invited to take a tropical journey from the comfort of their own homes, Saturday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m.
Animal-lovers are invited to take a tropical journey from the comfort of their own homes, Saturday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m.
(Courtesy)

Helen Woodward Animal Center’s beloved gala is known for its culinary delights featuring San Diego’s top restaurants. Keeping up with her tradition, Committee Restaurant Chair Ann Dizney is securing an impressive lineup of the area’s top eateries whose delicious entrees, signature cocktails and decadent deserts will be home delivered to gala attendees with the purchase of a ticket.

The night will include an online auction featuring items including Hawaii vacations, luxurious stays in Big Bear and Palm Springs, a Peloton bike, Nordstrom shopping spree & spa day, fine jewelry and more. The online auction opens Monday, Oct. 5.

Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Spring Fling Gala is its biggest fundraising event of the year. With 14 unique programs dedicated to the “mission of people helping animals and animals helping people,” the Woodward Center’s mission became even more valuable with the onset of COVID-19. As the pandemic heavily impacted pet owners, shelters and many in the community, Helen Woodward Animal Center expanded its life-saving transfer program welcoming an unprecedented number of over 2,000 orphan pets since March, arriving from struggling shelters across the country. Additionally, the AniMeals Relief efforts have provided more than 90,000 lbs. of pet food to those impacted by job loss. Through it all, the Pet Encounter Therapy program and Humane Education program continued to provide comfort and joy to seniors and children in need through virtual animal visits. Funds raised through Helen Woodward Animal Center’s gala support the life-saving work being done for orphan pets and programs.

Tune into the event for free (registration required) on Saturday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m., or purchase tickets, which will include a home delivery of select wine, entrées and desserts from some of the best local restaurants in San Diego. Register at animalcenter.org/spring-fling-gala.

Animal-lovers can also tune in on Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Facebook page starting at 7 p.m.


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