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Citymeals on Wheels’ annual luncheon on Wednesday brought together Jane Krakowski, Bernadette Peters, Iman, Bette Midler and others to raise funds at an event where many attendees were moved to tears by honoree Kathie Lee Gifford’s speech.
“I’m so honored to be a very, very small part of this organization that does so much for those who can do nothing for themselves anymore,” Gifford said of the non-profit, which provides meal services and company to homebound and elderly New Yorkers. “These people have given, given, given for decades and decades. And now they need us.”
Gifford’s speech continued, “Feed people who have no food. Dress people who have no clothes. Talk to people who have no friends.”
Fellow Today show anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb attended the luncheon in support of Gifford. Krakowski, who emceed the event, made sure to squeeze in a joke about the morning show, saying that, at this point, the fifth hour of Today “is just a sign-in sheet.”
Jessica Lappin, president of the Alliance for Downtown New York, and Derek Blasberg, YouTube’s director of fashion and beauty, were also honored at the event.
On the red carpet, guests posed with signs expressing their support for the organization, which declared female attendees “power women.”
“A ‘power woman’ is somebody who uses everything she has — uses her life — to try and do good for others,” actress Dana Ivey told The Hollywood Reporter.
“We’re living in a very mean civilization at the moment,” she continued. “People who need help are finding that the government isn’t responding to them as one would hope. So I think it’s very important for those of us who care to get together and help make our civilization, our society, a happier and better one.”
The event ended up raising nearly $1.2 million, which Citymeals on Wheels said will be used to prepare and deliver 160,000 meals.
“The people we serve built this city — they were the nurses, teachers, artists, civil servants, who came before us,” said Citymeals executive director Beth Shapiro. “Today, they’re too old and frail to shop and cook for themselves. But a home-delivered meal and a friendly check-in is often all they need to remain in their own homes and communities, where they want to be. Thanks to the generosity of the women — and men — in this room, our recipients can rest assured that this vital lifeline of nourishing meals will always be there for them.”
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