Animal Printed Gala Goers Raise $21K at Annual Christmas for the Animals

Animal Care Center volunteer Karla Schatzer selling raffle tickets at the organization’s fundraiser on Saturday night, January 8. Photos by Tropical Focus Photography

Leopard prints and zebra stripes were the order of the night as about 175 people gathered at Glen and Joanne Hall’s home overlooking Chocolate Hole for the St. John Animal Care Center’s annual Christmas for the Animals fundraiser on Saturday night, January 8.

The soiree raked in about $21,000 for the island’s sole animal welfare organization which runs a no-kill shelter as well as feral cat feeding and spay and neuter programs.

Organizers deemed the event a success and thanked volunteers and supporters.

“It’s really great,” said ACC president Diana Ripley. “These things are so hard to judge. You never know how many people are going to participate.”

“But we definitely did better than last year, so we definitely think the party was a success,” Ripley said.

Animal Care Center’s Monica Munro with a leopard-painted face by Elaine Estern.

Music by Johnny B and Friends, face painting by Love City artist Elaine Estern, guest bartenders and a bevy of volunteers made the night a lot of fun for gala attendees, who fully embraced the night’s Walk on the Wild Side theme.

“A lot of people wore jungle formal wear with animal themes,” said Ripley. “It was great to see that so many people had fun with the theme.”

“We want to send a special thanks to Elaine Estern who did the face paintings, that made so many people look amazing,” said ACC vice president Monica Munro.

With Jennifer Troisi and East West Catering’s Julie Van Pelt overseeing the evening’s menu, the fare was just as great as the evening’s crowd.

“Jennifer Troisi and Julie Van Pelt headed up the food and they did a wonderful job,” said Ripley. “A lot of restaurants and chefs took part and the food was wonderful.”

“So many restaurants took part,” said Munro. “I think most of the restaurants on the island participated either with food or by donating raffle prizes. It was wonderful.”

The Hall’s brand new home overlooking Chocolate Hole was the perfect site for the party.

“What a great venue,” said Ripley. “The Hall’s home was unbelievable. I can’t say enough about them opening up their house to have a wild party for us.”

Pushing the date of the event back from December to January also proved a success, according to Ripley.

“Changing the date to January really worked for us,” she said. “It’s such a crowded schedule before Christmas and this way we didn’t have a conflict with any other event. And I think everyone was back in the party mode after a little hiatus.”

“I think we’ll keep the party in January from now on,” said Ripley.

“January definitely worked out better than having the party in December,” said Munro. “I think people were over the Christmas rush and there weren’t so many other things going on. It worked out very well.”

As one of the ACC’s three major fundraisers, the annual gala goes a long way to ensuring the group is able to continue its work. Funds were raised through a combination of gala ticket sales, exciting raffle tickets sales and the night’s silent auction.

“We had wonderful raffle prizes this year that all were valued over $500,” said Munro. “The door prize was a stay at Briar’s Creek and we had a painting by Livy Hitchcock, five dinner gift certificates worth $700, dining for four with Mathayom, a boat charter trip with Southern Hospitality and more.”

Other raffle prizes included stays at Gallows Point and the Westin Resort and Villas, a sculpture from Freebird and a sunset sail for six aboard Magic Moments.

While animal printed party goers danced into the wee hours of the night, many ACC Christmas for the Animals attendees never forgot the evening’s importance.

“Everyone loves the animals and they all come out to support us,” said Ripley. It’s really special.”

“The funds are needed to keep our feral cat program and our spay and neuter program going and to allow us to continue to take in abused and neglected animals for adoption,” said Munro.

To find out how to help the St. John ACC, call the group at 774-1625 or check out the website