Christmas for the Animals Nets More Than $22,000 for Animal Care Center


Fire dancer Fuego entertained the crowd at the ACC’s Abrabian-themed fund raiser.

Pet lovers decked out in Arabian garb filled the Kismet Villa on Saturday night, January 5, for the annual Christmas for the Animals which netted more than $22,000 for the St. John Animal Care Center.

With food from some of the best chefs on island, including Mathayom, East West Catering, and Ted’s Supper Club, the culinary offerings were top-notch.  Complimentary cocktails and wine pairings and a special cigar and cognac bar combined to fulfill any  gourmand or oenophile’s desires.


Ted Robinson serves appetizers, above.


Live entertainment from Koko and the Sunshine Band, Fuego the Fire Dancer and cast members of Epiphany Theater Company’s recent show “Crackin’ deh Nut,” kept the crowd captivated.

A plethora of raffle prizes were available, but Jodi Tanino was the big winner, taking home a weekend stay at the luxurious Kismet Villa, perched high above Maria Bluff.

Organizers of the fund raiser were pleased with the night’s turnout, explained party chairperson Bonny Corbeil.


ACC President BJ Harris.

Great Entertainment and More
“I think it was a huge success,” Corbeil said. “I was really, really happy about it. People were asking me all night, ‘where did you get all these entertainers’ — it was great.”

The key to setting up a successful fund raiser is delegating responsibility, Corbeil added.

“It was a lot of work, but the whole team approach is what I find the most exciting,” she said. “It’s really important to put key people into position. Matt Cawley was in charge of all the drinks and bars, and he worked harder than anyone.”


Bonny Corbeil and Yvonna Chinnery, above.

“He was at the house with me early in the morning setting everything up and he was one of the last people to leave and help me bring everything down the hill,” continued Corbeil. “Having members of the St. John Youth Committee there was wonderful also. They did a great job greeting people and then helping serve appetizers and desserts.”

ACC board member Corbeil also credited the evening’s success to including a lot of people in the planning process.


Andy Rutnik and Leona Smith.

Team Work Pays Off
“I’m such a team-oriented person and when you are really inclusive with people, like I was with the ACC party, you get a really creative experience,” Corbeil said. “The people who love animals really jumped on board  and the party got really creative. That is what made me the happiest.”

“More and more people wanted to jump aboard and came up with ideas and just ran with them,” Corbeil added. “There were some behind the scenes problems, sure, but people jumped into place and everything went smoothly. It was that St. John family thing — everyone just did what had to be done.”

The Arabian night themed party was so much fun for ACC board president B.J. Harris, she made her own I Dream of Jeanie-inspired costume.


Members of the St. John Youth Committee, above, right, take a break to pose for the camera.

Plans for More Masquerades
“I was thrilled with the community support and the turnout and I thought the party went really well,” said Harris. “I’d like to see the costume theme become more of a tradition. I’d like the ACC to do something along the lines of a masquerade party for our holiday fund raiser every year.”

Harris — who was the ACC board president last year and is likely to be re-instated after the upcoming elections later this month — put the evening’s success squarely on the shoulders of the organizing committee.

“Our committee did a great job putting it all together,” said Harris. “They worked their hearts out. They made me look good.”
The proceeds will ensure the ACC continues to feed and spay the island’s stray cats, explained Harris.


Jean Vance, Jane Kyser and Val served up drinks at the poolside bar.

Tons of Food, Hundreds of Adoptions
“Last year we purchased and used a little over 8.7 tons of cat food at our feeding stations,” she said. “We also conducted more than 300 spays and neuters  and more than 200 adoptions. The center is really effective in handling the stray cat and dog populations.”

The ACC board presidents foresees even greater things ahead for the non-profit animal center.

“My goal is still to get a piece of land in the country and expand the operations of the center,” said Harris. “It would be ideal to be a little more financially self-sufficient with a boarding kennel and a small store. It would be great to generate some income for the center.”

The best part of the evening was the overwhelming community support, agreed both Corbeil and Harris.

“The support from the community was tremendous,” Harris said. “It was really nice to have such a great turn-out.”

“I had a really big smile on my face the whole time because of all the people who supported me and the ACC,” said Corbeil.