The focus of the March 21 fundraiser at the Fairmont Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh is advocating for the more than 3,500 homeless children in Allegheny County.
Indiana Township resident and event planner Pamela Abdalla said the HCEF provides after-school programs, teen outreach and back-to-school initiatives. Every August, HCEF staff and volunteers travel by school bus to deliver backpacks to make sure partner agencies have new supplies to distribute.
“The volunteer base is so supportive,” Abdalla said. “There are plenty of people stepping up to do the work.”
According to HCEF, more than 3,500 children and youth were identified as experiencing homelessness by their Allegheny County school districts in the 2016-17 school year.
Abdalla is familiar with the reality. For 25 years, she was an attorney in family court. She also served as a hearing officer for 15 years.
Now retired, Abdalla continues to give her time to others.
She worked at Amachi, an organization that helps children of incarcerated parents, as policy and development director for a year.
Now, she puts her skills to use as an event planner.
Abdalla organizes fundraising and board development events.
For the “Champions for Children” event, Abdalla will provide table decorations that illustrate her attention to detail. She will use forget-me-not flowers for the homeless children, lilies for innocence and English ivy for fidelity and friendship. A tag will be attached to explain each flower’s message.
The idea is to reinforce the values of the benefit, she said.
“My goal in event planning is always to give guests a transformative experience so that they really feel the heart of the mission,” Abdalla said.
There are other ways to help the HCEF, too. The group is a contributing charity for the 2019 Pittsburgh Marathon. Runners can raise funds for HCEF while participating in the May 5 races.
For more, check the website at homelessfund.org.