Sheldon, one of the residents at the Assurance Home, helps set the table in preparation for the dinner to benefit the youths of James Ranch Youth Shelter. (Courtesy Photo)
Peas ‘n’ Pods is holding their sixth biannual fundraiser for Assurance Home, starting 1 p.m., Sunday, at their facility at 1800 E. 18th St. Peas ‘n’ Pods is an award-winning Santa Fe-based caterer.
In 2000, owners Catherine O’Brien and Glenda Griswoldy started the dinners to help Assurance Home raise funds.
“It is such a huge thing that they do for us. They sponsor it. They come up with the menu, and they bring the staff,” said Assurance Home Executive Director Ron Malone.
Peas ‘n’ Pods originated in Washington, D.C., according to Malone, and they have catered events for the National Gallery of Art and Smithsonian Museums. The business moved to Santa Fe where they received the Critics Choice Award as “Santa Fe Best Caterer” by La Cocinita magazine.
Assurance Home is a nonprofit organization that opens its doors to at-risk youth. It is a United Way agency.
Malone says the biannual event sponsored by Pea ‘n’ Pods is not only a fundraiser, but a way to say thank you to all the people who support the organization. “I want people to know that there are wonderful people in the world.”
Sunday’s dinner includes an art show and sale featuring work by local artists, including western artist John Russell Thomasson, Southwest contemporary artist Cla Avery and bronze sculpturer Curtis Fort.
“We’ll also have some of our kids’ photographs for sale, pictures that they took at school,” said Malone.
The dinner will also provide entertainment. “We have a Spanish guitarist and the artists will be here too,” he said.
John Russell Thomasson, from Lubbock, Texas, is known for his mural works and refacing of historical sites.
Cla Avery is local talent and the Chaves County Executive Director of Character Counts!, a group which works to instill basic values and ethical behavior.
Curtis Fort is a New Mexico native from Tatum, who tells the story of the western cowboy in bronze sculpture.
“The children have been working on the centerpieces, so we will have a lot of kids’ art,” Malone said.
The $100-a-plate dinner is sold out. “The Board of Directors sell the tickets, and they have been working very hard. We expect 200 guests, 250 with children and staff,” said Malone.
The cause is one that touches many. Martha Murphy, who received the award for New Mexico’s Distinguished Public Service, said, “I was on the board for 30 years. Outside my family, it (the Assurance Home) is the love of my life.”
“We’re a home for kids who have been abused, neglected, homeless or are for some reason at risk,” he said.
The referrals come from Children Youth and Family Department. Assurance Home has clinical staff. The programs includes art therapy and horsemanship.
“A lot of our children have experienced trauma in their lives,” said Malone.
The facility houses up to 18 youths from 15 to 18 years old.
The location on East 18th Street consists of 15 acres and encompasses two houses. “We also have apartments for older children who are transitioning into adulthood,” Malone said. “We also have a library and an art facility on campus.”
There are 19 staff members. “We are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we have three to four staff members on hand at any time,” he said.
The Board of Directors include Dick Taylor, Nolana Bassett, Michael Gottlieb, Cindy Boswell, Hudson Boue, Don Bullock, Chris Cordero, Sheila Crossley, Sandi Davis, Jan DeGroot, Eileen Grooms, Kari Hoskins, Mike Marley, Candy McClelland and Al Solis.