The MAE Organization for the Homeless hosted its fifth annual Be The Light Gala on Saturday at the Park Theatre in Cranston.
Attendees were inspired by the event’s guest speaker, Tammy Maguire, who shared her story of experiencing homelessness as a single mother.
“While I was in the hotel, I got a call that my name finally came up at the top of the housing list,” Maguire said. “I was driving when I got the call. I was so happy I was crying and I had to pull over on the highway and just cry my heart out. I had nothing for the apartment just me and my kids.”
Maguire recalled when she connected with MAE Organization and its founder, Martinha Javid.
“She hugged me so hard, asked for my keys, told me not to worry about anything and she would call me when I could go home. A day or two later, she called me and let me know everything was all set,” Maguire said. “I was nowhere near expecting what was waiting for us. Beds for all of us, sheets, pillows, towels, couches, kitchen table and chairs, pots, pans, food, toilet paper. Everything. Even little presents for us. For the first time in my life I felt human, whole – like someone actually cared about me. Since then, Martinha and I have built an amazing bond.”
This year’s Gala proceeds will benefit MAE Organization’s creation of a new wellness center and the purchase of equipment for its kitchen.
Approximately 150 guests for the event arrived in gowns and tuxes or suits to enjoy an evening of food and entertainment. A live auction was run by Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers, and there was also a silent auction.
Appetizers, dessert and buffet items were donated by local restaurants, chefs and caterers. Auction items included a trip to Portugal, a package include JetBlue Airline tickets and an Airbnb stay, and a special painting which was done during the event by celebrity artist Janelle Feigley.
“After a year and a half of going through cancer, I am especially elated to have been able to celebrate MAE’s mission through our Be The Light Gala,” Javid said. “Every year I think it can’t get any better, and then it does. So many businesses came together to support our efforts.”
The event was hosted by Barbara Morse of NBC 10 WJAR and Pat Paolino Cruz. It was sponsored in part by Navigant Credit Union, Advanced Production and Design and the law firm Lisa & Sousa.
MAE Organization provides hot meals, toiletries, shoes, bikes and tents to more than 300 homeless and at-risk individuals on the streets of Providence and other parts of Rhode Island.
“Martinha believes in me when no one else does,” Maguire said. “But it’s not just me. She cares for everyone she helps. And that’s why we are here tonight – to raise money to build a place where people who feel like no one cares about them have a place to grow and learn and have access to things they wouldn’t be able to if it wasn’t for Martinha and this wonderful organization.”
For more information on how to donate, volunteer or otherwise support MAE Organization for the Homeless, visit maeorg.org.