Filling Tummies with Food and Hearts with Hope

Over one thousand Houstonians turn out to support and celebrate Kids’ Meals 10th Annual Harvest Luncheon



Photographer: Daniel Ortiz and Michael Saavedra

Society Writer: Blanca Beltran

General Editor: Margaret MacMillan

Publisher: Connie Kwan-Wong


The Celebration

Co-chairs, Lara Bell and Roseann Rogers, welcomed a record crowd to the Marriott Marquis to support Kids’ Meals 10th Annual Harvest Luncheon. Elaine and Jim Turner were this year’s Burrell Legacy honorees. Sysco, the corporate honoree, hopes to donate 200 million meals and contribute $50 million to local communities by 2025. Sysco was also the presenting underwriter. Elizabeth and John Elder and Eloise and James Taussig were the Golda and Gil Baker honorees. The host committee chairs were Lynda Transier and Rachel Regan. Bree Knodel and Christina Sacco were the auction chairs and Kimberly Williams was the market chair. Britta Merwin, KPRC 2 News Today meteorologist, emceed the event.

The Story

The grand ballroom of the Marriott Marquis was dressed in full fall splendor with each table boasting a gorgeous flower arrangement donated by H-E-B. Corporations, foundations, and Houstonians came together to invest in the city’s next generation by bringing them hope. Mimosas & Market, a curated group of outstanding vendors that successfully kicked off holiday shopping, a spectacular silent auction, and outstanding guest speakers made the event one to remember. Celebrity entertainers Claire Crosby and her father, Dave Crosby, captivated the audience with two sweet songs to open and close the show.  

The Moments

In a touching moment, Houston Mayor, Sylvester Turner, shared his experience of growing up hungry. He also thanked Kids’ Meals and its supporters for bringing hope and full stomachs to the children who need both. Keynote speaker, Laura Schroff, told the audience about a boy she met on the streets of NYC. The encounter became the subject of An Invisible Thread, her inspiring book about her friendship with the 11-year-old panhandler. Schroff also spoke of the good Kids’ Meals does and stressed the fact that children’s lives can be changed by supporting the organization. Executive director, Beth Braniff Harp, explained that each meal sends the same message: “We see you, you matter, and hope is here.”

All funds raised at the Harvest Luncheon benefit thousands of Houston’s hungriest children who, year-round, receive free daily meals delivered directly to their homes by Kids’ Meals.


Guests: Mayor Sylvester Turner, Philamena and Arthur Baird, Jessica Rossman, Council Member Jack Christie, Beth Braniff Harp, Franelle Rogers, Libby Cook, Cherie Lindley, Leigh Cook, Audrey Gruber, Shelbi Adams, Jess and Clayton Crum, Nina Westerfeld, Elizabeth Swift, Katherine Whaley, Marty Braniff and David Rubenstein, Joshua Espinedo, Nathan Reedy, Roland Maldonado, Jim Braniff, Connie Kwan-Wang, Gil Baker, Peter Remington, and Taft McWhorter.


About Kids’ Meals

Kids’ Meals is a caring nonprofit whose mission is “to end childhood hunger by delivering free healthy meals to the doorsteps of Houston’s hungriest preschool-aged children, and, through collaboration, provide their families with resources to help end the cycle of poverty.” Every day of the year, Kids’ Meals’ volunteers prepare thousands of healthy lunches and deliver them to children enrolled in their program. Kids’ Meals currently serves six Houston-area routes where the need is critical.