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Circles’ Day of the Dead Events Raise $15,000

Day of Dead Gala

Guests mingle at the Day of the Dead event in Palmdale, Calif.

Arroyo Grande

Barbara Levenson and Blaire Kilbey at the fundraising holiday event in Arroyo Grande. 


A colorful ofrenda in memory of loved ones added to the festive spirit in Arroyo Grande.

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is cause for celebration among Latin cultures and those who support the colorful memorials and festive atmosphere. Several Friendship Bridge Circle members used the holiday to raise awareness about Friendship Bridge and collect funds in their communities. The efforts of the Antelope Valley and the Central Coast Circle members in California raised more than $15,000 from tickets, art sales and silent auctions!

In Palmdale, Calif., a Antelope Valley Country Club banquet room was transformed by members of our local Circle beginning at noon on October 30th. A multi-tiered altar or “ofrenda” was built on a 22-foot base and ornately decorated with lights, candles, fruits and beverages. Guests brought photos of loved ones to honor for the holiday. Numerous Circle volunteers put in hours to organize the event, sell tickets and marketplace items, arrange the altar and gather silent auction items.

Constancia Leshin emceed the event and recording artist Stephane Deriau-Reine provided dinner music. Guests watched the compelling Friendship Bridge video, “Poverty Meets Hope” and heard from Friendship Bridge Development Director Michael Allen to end the evening.

In Arroyo Grande, more than 200 people turned out for their Day of the Dead celebration art sale. The Las Perlas del Mar Friendship Circle, which supports Friendship Bridge in the area, sold plants, handmade crafts from Guatemala, vintage Latin American items, and art from some of their members. A Day of the Dead altar, decorated with images of loved ones who have passed, was itself photographed by David Johnson, a local professional, who offered to sell the image to benefit Friendship Bridge at a future event.

Carolyn Casas, leader of the Central Coast Circle, said there was great support in the area and extended her thanks to Meg and David Johnson who hosted the event and all the artists who contributed a portion of their sales to Friendship Bridge.  A special thank you to everyone involved in these events!