A Bounty of Assistance Is Raised for Houston’s Hungry Children

Kids’ Meals Hosts its 11th Annual Harvest Luncheon

Caroline Finklestein, Kari Greenwalt, Shannon Braniff, Julie Bayouth, Molly Shaffer, Stephanie Cockrell (all cochairs of this event)

Julie Bayouth, Shannon Braniff- Co-chairs

Caroline Finklestein, Kari Greenwalt, Shannon Braniff, Julie Bayouth, Molly Shaffer, Stephanie Cockrell (all cochairs of this event)


Photo credit: Daniel Ortiz 

Writer: Shannon McKirchy

General Editor: Margaret MacMillan

Publisher: Connie Kwan-Wong


The Celebration

A record-breaking crowd of over 1,350 supporters attended Kids’ Meals 11th Annual Harvest Luncheon at the luxurious Marriott Marquis Houston. Julie Bayouth and Shannon Braniff cochaired the heart-warming event, which raised funds to provide meals for hungry preschool-aged children in the Houston area. Christine Noël of KPRC 2  emceed. April and Wells McGee were this year’s Burrell Legacy honorees and Vivien and J. R. Irvin were the Golda and Gil Baker honorees. Palais Royal was the corporate honoree and Brian Greene of the Houston Food Bank was recognized as the Collaborative Partner of the Year. David Weekley Homes and Sherwin-Williams were the Volunteer Groups of the Year. Reliant Energy was the presenting underwriter.


The Story

Harvest Market cochairs, Kathy Bennett and Crissy Clarke, transformed the foyer to the hotel’s grand ballroom into a bustling marketplace where vendors sold clothing, accessories, Christmas trinkets, modern art, sweets, mimosas, and hot toddies. A generous 20 percent of the proceeds went to Kids’ Meals. Silent auction cochairs, Molly Shaffer and Kari Greenwalt, assembled an incredible array of action packages and decorations chairs, Stephanie Cockrell and Caroline Finkelstein, created amazing floral centerpieces, all of which sold out. The ballroom itself was decked out in a harvest theme with cheerful pumpkins and autumn-inspired floral arrangements curtesy of H-E-B.

The Moments

Executive Director, Beth Braniff Harp, told the audience that one in four children in the Houston area go to bed hungry but with everyone’s help lives can be changed. Featured speaker and bestselling author of Breaking Night, Liz Murray, shared her touching testimonial of growing up hungry, becoming homeless, and being given a second chance by a caring mentor. Speaking with CKW LUXE magazine, Murray said, “An organization like Kids’ Meals is incredibly powerful.” Connie Kwan-Wong, founder and publisher of CKW LUXE magazine, donated a brand-new delivery van to the organization to ensure all kids receive a healthy meal every day.

A total of $374,000 was raised for the organization.

Guests: Philamena and Arthur Baird, Council Member Jack Christie, Twila Carter, Marty Braniff and David Rubenstein, Jim Braniff, Connie Kwan-Wong, Gil Baker, Peter Remington and Karen DeGeurin, Rosalinda Martinez, Myra Johnson, Geraldina and Scott Wise, Dr. Monica Patel, Robin Segesta, Gabriela Smith, Claudia Almaguer, Brian Greene, Debbie Clemens, Jeanette Ramming, and Kim Padgett.

About Kids’ Meals

Kids’ Meals is the nation’s only nonprofit to deliver free healthy meals year-round to the doorsteps of preschool-aged children. Since 2006, Kids’ Meals has been serving the community with the goal of ending childhood hunger in Houston. The organization operates throughout 40 zip codes within Beltway 8 delivering over 3,000 meals a day. When school is out, the organization serves even more lunches, delivering meals to the preschoolers and their school-age siblings. It also provides families with resources to help end the cycle of poverty.