PALM BEACH, Fla. — The "Old Bags Luncheon," one of the most colorful events of the fundraising season, took on a new life during the pandemic.
Instead of gracing its usual location at The Breakers, the event was moved to The Colony Hotel and Worth Avenue to support local businesses.
The signature handbag auction went on. Guests were also encouraged to shop along the stretch of Worth Avenue. A portion of proceeds from dozens of the shops went back to the fundraiser.
"With COVID, we had to change our venue. We had to be very sensitive to everybody and what might be happening today. We didn’t know when we started planning over the summer," explained Dr. Fabiana DesRosiers, CEO for Center for Family Services of Palm Beach County.
The event supports the Center for Family Services, which is celebrating 60 years serving Palm Beach County.
"The impact the funds that are raised are quite significant. We service almost 2,000 people per year. Most of these people can't afford mental health. They really are in dire situations, so they come to us. Our services are affordable. Our services are accessible," DesRosiers said.
The organization said during the pandemic it has seen numbers spike. It is struggling to keep up with demand.
"The funds that we raise today help to fund our eight programs, so we deal with grief, trauma, abuse, recovery from substance use, and it makes a huge impact. We strengthen individuals and families every day," DesRosiers said.