First Annual Winter Wonderland Gala

Retired NBA basketball player TJ Ford and wife, Candace are using their non-profit organizations to help provide a Christmas for families affected by the storm at the First Annual Winter Wonderland Gala.

The first Annual Winter Wonderland Gala took place this past Thursday, November 30th at the Fountain of Life Center.

I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to attend for two reasons: 1.It was on a Thursday and 2. I get off at 4:30pm but don’t get out the building until 6:30. It is a gala so I knew I’d need time to get ready and get there on time.

There is no way I could have gone home first to prepare. One thing about me , I hate being late to any kind of event, especially one that I’m invited to and have to write about . I almost declined the invitation because I figured that it’d be impossible to make it on time. After deeply thinking for some time, I knew I’d miss out if I didn’t attend. I ended up going straight after work and got ready in the lady’s room (no shame lol). My fellow blogger Symone( was there by my side lifting me up. Omg, I got ready in less than 30 minutes. I’m surprised because this never happened and that was one of my favorite look. See guys , it doesn’t take much to transform AND you make time and sacrifice for what matters.

The Winter Wonderland Gala was basically Christmas in November for families that were affected by Hurricane Harvey. We all gathered to help raise money for the victims. As previously mentioned , the gala was founded by retired basketball player TJ Ford and his wife Candace. With the help of their non-profit organizations The TJ Ford Basketball Academy and Project Beautiful Me ,they are able to make touch many individuals. They make an impact in the Houston Community by providing mentorship and scholarships opportunities.

The storm surprised all of us and let that be a reminder that anything to anyone at any time. We all witnessed the solidarity in Houston during and after the storm. Many of us didn’t have much damage however they are still many people who have not recovered , there are still families without a home. It’s important to remember that and events like the Wonderland gala provides hope ,love and support to many.

The event kicked off with the attendees looking dapper in their dresses, gowns and tuxedos and enjoying hors d’oeuvres and crafty made cocktails while sparkling some great conversations.

At about 7pm, we were all escorted to the room and it literally was a winter wonderland.

The hosts: Jonathan Martin and Melinda Spaulding

Y’all know I’m a foodie and I’ve been to many events and galas and I have to say that the food was amazing. It was well seasoned and high five to the chef. Unfortunately, I don’t know the food company. It looked so good I didn’t snap a photo(sometimes the best moments don’t make it on camera)of the delicious dirty rice, steamed green beans,buttery and fluffy mashed potatoes and slowly cooked chicken breast.

While satisfying our pallets, awards were given to those who have used their platform to immensely impact the community in the past three months. The honorees were Pastor John & Aventer Gray, Pastors Remus & Mia Wright, Bun B, Ashley Turner, Wendi J. Turner and Duer Sharp .

Wendy Turner

The Fords and Pastor John and Aventer Gray

As I am writing this article and remembering everyone’s speech, I realized that they all have one thing in common which is compassion. Pastor Remus said that it is not how much you’re giving but it is how you’re giving it . You have to step in the victims shoes and feel their resentments. Money is important but time is just as important. He talked about how many of the victims had faith and remained strong and positive. He said “One lady that I was helping was talking about how she couldn’t wait to go to church on Sunday and I said you don’t even have a roof over your head, she later explained that if it wasn’t for God I wouldn’t be standing right now and I’m going to praise him because it is still a blessing .“This is the epitome of faith and perseverance.

Pastor John & Aventer Gray also shared a few words of wisdom with us. Aventer talked about the importance of humility.

“But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” Matthew 6:3

Aventer explains that it is all about intent and it is great to use our platform to spread the act of generosity but also everything cannot be shown.

We danced to the beautiful sound of Kenny Lattimore, he sang his heart out and that made the ceremony even more magical .

Tis the season of servant leadership and love. I challenge all of us to reflect on giving and what we can do to help those who struggling . Together, we can make a difference.

Happy Holidays!



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