SEBRING — The Palms Foundation Benevolent Fund held their annual banquet on Thursday night to champion the cause of the elderly who are struggling to meet their basic needs.

Tom Johnson, executive director of The Trousdale Foundation Inc., said, “We are here to have a great time. . . . When Christ said, ‘Feed my sheep,’ this is what he meant. We are to be the hands and feet of Christ, doing what Christ wants us to do. . . Trousdale will match funds from dinner tonight.”

Paul Staik, board member chairman for the foundation, said, “This is a fundraiser for The Palms Foundation. It assists residents at The Palms and other nonprofit agencies that help the elderly, like Meals on Wheels, Nu-Hope and Samaritan’s Touch. Nonprofits that serve seniors can come to us and submit a request for a grant.”

The foundation’s purpose is to provide temporary relief when funds have been depleted and people are no longer able to pay for quality of life needs, such as medications, dental care, hearing aids and eyeglasses.

“When we sell tickets, we get all the money from the event,” Staik said. “The Palm donates the dinner and the location.”

Jeff Roth, the emcee for the event, said, “We are here to celebrate, but we also want your money.” Roth encouraged people to bid on the silent and live auction items. Many of them have committed their time and treasure to keeping us free, he said. “It is our privilege to serve them.”

After guests sampled appetizers at 5 p.m. and listened to harpist Darlene Walton play, they assembled in Kesselring Square for dinner and an opportunity to win door prizes. The tables were decorated with faux diamonds to commemorate the 60th anniversary of The Palms of Sebring.

Chef MacGregor Gentleman prepared a delicious five-course meal for approximately 200 guests. Participants started with a tuna nicoise salad and then feasted on three different main courses — chicken schnitzel, bacon wrapped monkfish and bacon seared New York strip. The dessert was a decadent chocolate marquise.

James Röesner, from Positive Medical Transport, said, “The food was spectacular. It left us longing for more. I look forward to putting each plate on Instagram. No filters needed, #Palms.”

Guests raved about the scrumptious meal, and when it came time for Chef Mac to auction off a five-course dinner for four at The Palms, the winning bid was $750.


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