All you can eat and drink for a good cause

Temecula OnStage not only strives to entertain, but it also intends to raise awareness.

Raising money at a benefit will help a nonprofit organization, but money doesn’t always last. With a more long-term goal of stirring up awareness, a benefit may achieve higher success.

Temecula OnStage will attempt to be one of those seed-planting events with Wishes for Children Foundation as its crop.

Temecula OnStage will be held in the heart of Old Town Temecula along Main Street on Aug. 30.

Wishes for Children was founded five years ago by Charlie Pate, whose main goal was to grant the wishes and dreams of severely underprivileged children in the Temecula Valley area.

All proceeds do benefit the organization and Pate wanted to emphasize that 99 percent of that money goes back into the community. However, he said, “We’re not looking at this event as a fundraiser. It’s more like public relations, to educate people about Wishes for Children.”

Wishes for Children collaborates with all local charities and is a member of the Temecula Chamber of Commerce. They are currently in the process of joining the Lake Elsinore Chamber. The foundation’s goal is to help as many children as possible.

In a phone interview last week, Pate explained, “The last wish we granted, a child with sickle cell anemia who was in a wheelchair came to us wanting to go on a shopping spree. We had a limo pick him up at home and take him to the Ontario Mills Mall.

“The day before, we found out he had a love for motorcycles. We had 15 motorcycles escort the limo to the mall. We gave him a substantial amount of money. Let’s just say he couldn’t spend it all in one day.”

For the first five years Temecula OnStage was dedicated to raising funds for the community’s theater companies. In its sixth year, the companies have passed the spotlight to Wishes for Children.

“Temecula OnStage will be a fun-filled night with great music – jazz, old-time rock and roll,” said Pate. “You pay one price and walk the streets, eat food, drink wine.

“The Tokens are the main attraction. They sing that song [‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight].’ It’s one of those songs that sticks in your head when you hear it a few times.”

The Tokens, four boys from Brooklyn, recorded “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” in 1961. It soared up the charts to become the number one hit in the nation.

Their other hits include “Tonight I Fell in Love,” “I Hear Trumpets Blow” and “Portrait of My Love.”

In addition to The Tokens, other groups such as Michael Paulo and Guilty Conscience will be performing on the two stages during the event.

Local wineries and restaurants will participate by providing their finest samplings.

“I want people to be fully aware of who we are, our mission, our goal and that we provide services for people in the Temecula Valley,” said Pate. “Seeing a smile on a child’s face is priceless. That’s my reward.

“We don’t look for the spotlight. We do what we do because we love to do it. We try to make a change in a child’s life. We try to be ambassadors of the community and let children know they are loved.”

Tickets for Temecula OnStage are $65 per person.

Wishes for Children is always looking for volunteers. Pate said the best way for people to get involved is to visit www.wishes or call him directly at (951) 302-2231.

For Temecula OnStage event information, call Kelly Daniels-Neu at Valley Events at (951) 693-1358, ext. 113. For sponsorship information, contact Julie Ngo at State Farm Insurance at (951) 695-2625.

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