Hospice of the Valleys celebrates 35 years as ‘Havana Nights’ attendees raise $70,000

Over 180 donors contribute items to the silent auction for the Hospice of the Valleys “Havana Nights” event, Sept. 23, including a hand-painted Cuba poster. Paul Bandong photo

Hospice of the Valleys celebrated their 35th anniversary and their 21st annual Wine & Chocolate Fundraiser, Sept. 23, at Avensole Winery in Temecula. Over 500 guests, volunteers and vendors attended the “Havana Nights” event, complete with a mojito bar, Cuba Libre bar, Zarka’s cigar bar, Espie Hernandez salsa dancers, authentic Cuban dinner and music by Ruben V and the Latin Sounds.

The event raised $70,000 for the nonprofit organization that provides direct care and services to the patients and families they serve. Their services include medication delivery, medical supplies, bereavement and grief support as well as in-home services.

The organization reports that 100 percent of all donated funds stay local within the community; 87 cents of every dollar goes toward direct care and services. One thousand dollars provides four days of hospice care; $75 provides for one medication service in the middle of the night.

Hospice of the Valleys has served 400 seniors, made 22,000 visits and driven 233,000 miles or the equivalent of a one-way trip to the moon.

The organization introduced two new programs. The first is a “Music and Memory” program for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease patients that uses an iPod of their favorite music. The program has been shown to improve communication and reduce depression and anxiety. The cost of one unit is $50.

The second is called “We Honor Vets,” a program sponsored by the Veterans Administration but is completely funded by community contributions. Veterans are honored with a pinning ceremony at the end of their lives. The cost is $100.

Providing wine for the event were Avensole Winery, Wilson Creek Winery, Monte de Oro, Europa Village, Akash Winery, Maurice Car’rie Winery, Robert Renzoni Winery and Falkner Winery. The 8-bit Brewing Company provided samples of their beer. Appetizers were provided by Rocky Mountain Catering, Pacific Pita and Havana Kitchen.

Desserts and treats were provided by Dunkin’ Donuts, Trader Joe’s, Havana Kitchen, Corner Bakery, Aromas Coffee & Bistro and Nothing Bundt Cakes.

For more information, to volunteer or to donate, contact Hospice of the Valleys at (951) 200-7815 or visit www.hospiceofthevalleys.org.

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