Ladies Choice: A Fundraiser for Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood at Rivertown Lodge
On January 31st, Rivertown Lodge hosted Ladies Choice, a galvanizing event for Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood that drew people from all over the Hudson Valley and provided a much-needed night out after weeks of uncertain change. Rivertown Lodge owner Kim Bucci and local cookbook author Colu Henry worked with Creative Director and Founder of BEST Alison Matheny and Community Events Organizer Tracy Martin to increase awareness and raise money for Planned Parenthood, an organization that is at risk to lose funding due to the current administration. “Over the years, my girlfriends — and myself included — have called on Planned Parenthood for important healthcare needs,” explains Kim. “The organization has always been there for us at points in our life when we needed it and it’s important that stays the case. We wanted to host an event that not only supported Planned Parenthood, but one that was able to directly impact the Upper Hudson chapter.”
Chelly Hegan, the President and CEO of Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, attended the event and spent the evening enthusiastically chatting with guests and keeping spirits high with her infectious laugh and boundless energy. New York Assemblywoman Didi Barrett also came to back the organization, which she has so fiercely supported. “Everyone who loves Columbia County knows this is a special place and the event at Rivertown Lodge was a perfect example,” says Chelly. “Wonderful people came together to put a stake in the ground and say ‘Enough is enough — Planned Parenthood isn’t a political football, it is an important part of our community and our public health system.’”
Chef-owner Gabby Gulielmetti and Rachel Sanzone of Bonfiglio & Bread worked with local farms such as Ironwood Farm, Kinderhook Farm, Blue Star, Northwind Farm, and Sparrowbush Farm to conceptualize a hearty menu of seasonal dishes consisting entirely of donated meat and produce. Gaskins owners Sarah and Nick Suarez also contributed their culinary expertise to help execute the night’s fare. Brooklyn-based textile artist Mia Fabbri created a one-of-a-kind textile piece entitled “In Utero” to hang in the lobby, while other thoughtful touches included feminine-forward embroidered pink cocktail napkins by artist Hilary J. Corts and gorgeous flower arrangements from Flowerkraut.
Ladies Choice was a sold-out event and a huge success on many levels. Not only did it bring the community together, but it raised close to $16K that will now directly impact Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood. Thank you to everyone who made this night possible. Events like these are a needed reminder of the power a small community can have on the world.
If you would like to make a donation to Planned Parenthood to ensure safe and affordable care for all women, please feel free to do so here.
We loved seeing “Standing with Planned Parenthood” spelled out on the old marquee at Rivertown Lodge.
Textile artist Mia Fabbri’s piece was made entirely from recycled fabrics, such as old t-shirts and fabric swatches, and (non-recycled) yarn, which ranged from organic wool to cotton-wool mixes. It was later auctioned off to Ron Wells of Ron Wells Gallery, a modern art gallery in Hudson, with proceeds going directly to Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood.
Artist Hilary J. Corts hand embroidered cocktail napkins, each with its own unique detailing symbolizing womanhood, for guests to take home as a favor. Hilary recently underwent a double mastectomy and has dwindling healthcare with high premiums, resulting in poor coverage. She is currently working on a patch project called Boobs, with proceeds going to FORCE, a national nonprofit that improves the lives of individuals and families affected by hereditary breast, ovarian, and related cancers.
Mairead Travins, floral designer and owner of Hudson-based Flowerkraut, donated her artful centerpieces for the occasion.
All collateral for the event was created by BEST, a content and design studio with offices in Manhattan and the Hudson Valley. Their hashtag #stayBESTtogether is an initiative providing free marketing and design services to at-risk organizations.
The evening’s fare was served family-style and featured mouthwatering dishes such as Braised Brisket with Melted Leeks, Roasted Carrots with Harissa, Cumin, and Turmeric Yogurt, Slow Roasted Cabbage with Salsa Verde and Smoked Sweet Potatoes with Anchovy Butter.
Chelly Hegan, the President and CEO of Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, spoke to guests on the importance of community, taking grassroots action, and funding organizations and events like Ladies Choice in these challenging times. “I could not be prouder of the tireless volunteers that made this event happen and all the people — especially the young people who are proving that our movement is in great hands for the future. A year ago when I would talk with some of the grandmothers of this movement — those who fought for access to birth control and abortion in the 1960s — they were worried that these rights might be taken for granted. They aren’t worried anymore.”
Local cheese and provisions shop Talbott & Arding provided an array of thin cured meats and hard and soft cheeses for guests to snack on.
Honky tonk band Chops and Sauerkraut provided live music entertainment, lending a jovial feel to the night, clearly evident in this signature move from Chops LaConte.
Thank you to everyone who made this night possible! Here are five actions you can take to stand up for Planned Parenthood:
1: Donate to Planned Parenthood. If you can, become a monthly donor to maximize your impact.
2. Host a house party to educate your network and encourage them to join you in donating.
3. Call Your Legislators. Calls really make a difference — make your voice heard on issues that you care about.
4. Volunteer to become an activist, patient escort, or work in a teen clinic.
5. Spread the word and share with your friends that you stand with Planned Parenthood on social media.