Why 13 is not an unlucky number for Pomona hospital

Jeanine, John and Brittany Solomon enjoy the neonatal unit fundraiser. John Solomon began the event 13 years ago.
Jeanine, John and Brittany Solomon enjoy the neonatal unit fundraiser. John Solomon began the event 13 years ago. PHOTO BY FRANK PEREZ
Cathie and Roger Hogan, owners of Claremont Toyota, came out to support the event. Claremont Toyota was a presenting sponsor.
Cathie and Roger Hogan, owners of Claremont Toyota, came out to support the event. Claremont Toyota was a presenting sponsor. PHOTO BY SUZANNE SPROUL

Thirteen proved to be a lucky number for the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center foundation and the youngsters it helps.

Supporters packed the Fairplex Conference Center recently for the 13th annual wine tasting, which aids the hospital’s neonatal intensive care and pediatrics unit. Guests dined on delicious tidbits, enjoyed a wonderful selection of wines and participated in a several opportunity drawings. At the end of the night, the event raised the most money ever: $120,000.

“I think those who support it are starting to understand and believe in what we’re doing. This isn’t a one-year event. It’s getting some legs,” said John Solomon, owner of Liquorama Fine Wines & Spirits. “We’ve added mothers, couples and families to the get-togethers during the years so they can share their stories. It puts a face on what we’re doing.”

Those stories help relate the concerns, upheavals and heartaches many of these families face. The stories bring home the message.

“The benefit that we get from the events isn’t only for that family but for our community,” Solomon said. “Each baby’s birth is a constant reminder of the miracle of life and just how important it is to get them the best care possible. We also try to help prepare the mother and the family for what they face and let them know they are supported.”

Claremont Toyota was the official presenter of the event. But one of the mainstays contributing to its success is Solomon, who launched the fundraiser years ago. He still takes a hands-on approach to it, selecting more than 230 fine wines and food pairings for the evening.

“As an organizer and chair of the event, I think we’re just getting started. We’re just seeing where we can go with it,” Solomon said. “Being involved with this is a constant reminder to me to stay motivated. It’s been wonderful to have our children see this and maybe carry on with it in the future. For those not able to come to the wine-tasting for whatever reason, if this isn’t your passion then please give somewhere else.”

Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center is home to a 53-bed NICU facility that treats sick or premature babies from throughout the Inland Valley and parts of San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties.

Seen at the Scene: Roger and Cathie Hogan; John, Jeanine and Brittany Solomon; La Verne Mayor Don Kendrick and his wife Gaynel; Dan and Sheili Gardiner; Frank Garcia and his wife Cathy; and Medical Center President and Chief Executive Officer Rich Yochum and his wife, Robyn.

Fun on the Farm

The annual summer event that features fresh ingredients, food trucks and friends, called Cheers, is set from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, June 24. The Los Angeles wine, spirits, beer and food festival will be at The Farm at Fairplex in Pomona. The evening is filled with entertainment, demonstrations, dancing, and, of course, plenty of fun. Tickets are $75 and all guests must be 21 years old and older. The event is a fundraiser for educational programs at The Learning Centers at Fairplex. For more information, go to www.fairplex.com

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BofA gives to nonprofits

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation distributed $387,500 to 43 Inland Empire nonprofits that work to provide and improve opportunities for economic mobility to those living in the region. The nonprofits will use the funds to improve access to food, shelter, benefits and other basic needs. The money also will be used to pave the way for individuals to secure employment and training.

Al Arguello from the foundation helped make the presentations to organizations such as Goodwill Industries, the Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino, Arrowhead United Way, the Children’s Fund of San Bernardino; Child Advocates of San Bernardino County; and Santa Claus Inc. of Greater San Bernardino.

“Connecting the underserved and underemployed to immediate basic needs provides a foundation from which people can build skills and pursue opportunities that offer economic stability,” Arguello, Inland Empire market president of Bank of America, said in a statement. “By partnering with nonprofits like Feeding America Riverside|San Bernardino, we hope to find sustainable ways to help people build better financial lives.”

Other organizations receiving grants included Community Health Action Network, Moses House Ministries, Rim of the World Educational Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Inland Empire, Credit.org, Family Service Association, GRID Alternatives, Inland Empire Rescue Mission, Inspire Life Skills Training, Operation Safe House, Path of Life Ministries, THINK Together, The Arc of Riverside County, Voices for Children, Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Gorgonio Pass, Crafton Hills College Foundation, Idyllwild Help Center, Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council, Goodwill Industries of Southern California, Arrowhead United Way, Children’s Fund, Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County, Rewritten, Santa Claus, Inc., Young Visionaries Youth Leadership Academy, Youth Action Project, Child Advocates of San Bernardino County, Boys & Girls Club of Palm Springs, Boys & Girls Club of Coachella Valley, Cove Communities Senior Association, Desert AIDS Project, FIND Food Bank, John F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation, Martha’s Village and Kitchen, Soroptimist House of Hope, The Girlfriend Factor, Oak Grove Center, Safe Alternatives for Everyone, Bright Prospect, Foothill Family Shelter, Inland Empire United Way and Ontario-Montclair Schools Foundation.

Send news of social events with charitable purposes to ssproul@scng.com or on Twitter @SuzanneSproul. Include a contact phone number. Attach high-resolution JPEG photos, and include group name and identification of individuals from left to right.

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