Center volunteers make Toast to Life a success

By Tammye Nash Staff Writer

Charitable event that helps fund 35 programs at Resource Center of Dallas set for Saturda



Roy Lierman

Roy Lierman began volunteering at the Resource Center of Dallas a little more than three years ago as part of a community service requirement.
He stayed on, he said, because “This is just such a great place to be, with such great people to work with.”

Leirman said because of his experience with data entry, he was assigned to work with the center’s development team, keeping track of reservations and items donated for the auction for Toast to Life.

“I have helped with a couple of other events – the Easter basket auction and Gay Bingo. But Toast to Life is the one I do the most work on, and it is my favorite,” he said.

This year’s Toast to Life begins at 7 p.m. Saturday with a V.I.P. party at Fuse restaurant in downtown Dallas. The main event begins at 8 p.m. at Neiman Marcus Downtown, and it will be followed by an after-party at Fuse.
In January, Lierman was recognized for his work on the event by being presented with the Bruce Long Award, which recognizes the center’s outstanding volunteer in the development department.
Catherine Mouton, special events coordinator, said that Toast to Life is the center’s largest fundraiser.


Catherine Mouton

The event brings in about $200,000 every year, all of which goes directly to fund the center’s 35 programs, she said.
In its first seven years, Toast to Life has raised $1.2 million.
“All of the alcohol is donated. The food is donated. The venue is free, and the auction items are donated. So our costs are very low,” Mouton said.
In addition, she said, organizing for the event is done almost entirely by
See TOAST on PAGE 10
volunteers.

“I am really the only staff member who works on this,” Mouton said. “We have five subcommittees that deal with logistics, public relations, food and beverages, the auction, and sponsorships. These are all run by people who donate their time to put this together.”

Scot Presley has chaired the main Toast to Life committee for three years now, Mouton said, “and he has dedicated practically his entire life to this event for three years. He has a full-time job, but he has spent so much time on this, he has practically been an employee at the center for three years.”
All of that adds up to an event that is “crucial in terms of the money we need to run the center,” Mouton said.

“The Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS brings in a lot of money each year. But that money is split between three agencies, and it is for AIDS programs only. Proceeds from Toast to Life benefit just the Resource Center, and the money goes toward all of our programs,” she added.

Mouton said planning for Toast to Life begins in the summer each year, with volunteers donating hundreds of hours to get everything in place.
Lierman agreed that planning for Toast to Life “is really a lot of hard work. But it’s definitely always worth it in the end.”

“The food is always great, and there is always plenty to drink,” Lierman said.
“But the main reason people should attend is because it is a lot of fun, a great time to get dressed up and socialize with other people in a really nice venue, and it is a great way to support a great cause.”
E-mail nash@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, February 24, 2006.

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