Our community showed its true colors on Friday, Feb. 26, as over 600 guests turned out to show their support for the Center for Grieving Children, an organization in Portland that supports children and families in times of grief, and helped to raise $230,000.

“This is truly a community model, from beginning to end,” said Anne Heros, executive director, gesturing to a room bustling with supporters at the Love Really Counts Auction and Dinner Gala. “Our services are free to the families, and this is the only way we can do it.”

Guests mingled over cocktails and an extensive collection of silent auction items before heading into the expansive dining room at the Holiday Inn By The Bay in Portland for a live auction and seated dinner, emceed by Cindy Williams of WCSH6.

Board members Kevin Hunt of Falmouth, Kimberly Simard of Scarborough, Patricia Rosi Santucci of Falmouth and Douglas Carr of Washington, D.C., shared their appreciation for the community’s outpouring of support.

“It’s why I’m here, and why I’m on the board,” said Simard, who first attended the center with her own kids when they lost their dad. “To give back.”

Larry Wold, Maine president of TD Bank was joined by his wife, Colette. Dajuan Eubanks, president of the Maine Red Claws, came out to show his support, as did Bill Caron, president of MaineHealth.

Katie Harris, senior vice president, Government Relations and Accountable Care at MaineHealth, was joined by her husband, Chip, a principal at Kilbride & Harris Insurance, along with Quincy Hentzel, board president of Portland Community Chamber of Commerce, and Matt Thornton of Cape Elizabeth.

“For me, it’s a very personal mission,” explained board president Amanda Rand, who lost her older sister at age 15. “I know how these children and families feel when they suffer a loss like that. The center provides a safe place for children to talk about what they are going through.”

The live auction kicked into high gear when the auctioneer called on guests to “Sponsor A Child” for $100, the center’s cost to provide free services to a child for one month. With that, bidding cards flew up and generosity spilled forth across the room to loud applause.

“Thank you for making sure the center is here for the next child and community that needs it,” said Rand.

Margaret Logan is a freelance writer who lives in Scarborough. She can be reached at:

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