“We like to say every baby, 4 million in the U.S. each year, are March of Dimes babies if they’ve had prenatal care, newborn screenings and vaccinations,” said Sally Hennessey, director of program services at the Maine Chapter of the March of Dimes at the 15th annual Signature Chefs Auction at DiMillo’s in Portland on Oct. 1.

And for babies born prematurely, Hennessey said, the March of Dimes plays a major role in giving them a chance to have healthy lives.

As the evening kicked into high gear, over 250 guests wined and dined amidst tables of fare from the likes of Elsmere BBQ, Evo and The Winey Baker, enjoying savory morsels and decadent sweets from local chefs showcasing their talents, all in support of Maine babies.

“March of Dimes is focused on preventing prematurity,” explained Dr. Hector Tarraza, chief of OB/GYN at Maine Medical Center and the evening’s honoree. “Every year, the March of Dimes puts out a report card. This year, the state of Maine got an A, thanks to all of the efforts of the doctors, nurses and staff throughout the region. Only six states received an A.”

Erin Ovalle, WMTW-8 morning anchor and emcee of the fundraiser, beckoned guests from the warmth of the restaurant onto the front deck of the converted ferry, where a fully enclosed tent and space heaters protected party-goers from the gusty evening outside.

“Thank you all for coming,” said Hildy Ginsberg, the nonprofit’s state director, to the gathering crowd. “This is a celebration. We have worked all year long on behalf of babies and families in southern Maine and we couldn’t have done it without you.”

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

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