Written by Megan Speight
Guests partied with a purpose at the 18th Annual Red Cross Red Ball. Named “Philadelphia’s best black-tie charity”, the event did not disappoint. More than 1,100 guests consisted of Red Cross supporters and volunteers, along with people looking to have fun on a Saturday night for a good cause.
The event was held for the third year at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the World Champion Philadelphia Eagles. The setting provided incredible views of the City of Philadelphia and great photo opportunities looking out over the field.
Like many events organized by the Red Cross, volunteers were on hand to help everything run smoothly. Volunteers are a crucial reason the Red Cross is so successful and many volunteers have tenure with the organization that can last decades.
So where does this loyalty come from? Jennifer Ingram, communications volunteer, shared why she volunteers for the Red Cross. “I was unemployed, looking for something to do amid job searching. With a passion for writing, I decided to volunteer with the Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania’s Communications Department. That was about six years ago and I haven’t stopped since. I continue because I like the mission and what the organization stands for. Their impact is much wider than just asking people for blood and I’m happy to support them,” she said.
Volunteers aren’t the only individuals who support the Red Cross because of its impactful mission. Guests Ron and Kristina DeGregorio shared that they are “very supportive of the mission and the wonderful job the team does rallying the broader community.”
Community is one of the reasons that I continue to volunteer with the Red Cross as well. I know that no matter what event I support, there is an almost immediate bond I feel with other volunteers. We all know we are there to do great work and support an organization that has a global impact. Additionally, when I volunteer with the Red Cross, I meet and interact with new and interesting people.
One interesting person I was able to meet at the Red Ball was the newly crowned Miss Philadelphia 2018, Aimee Turner. Aimee shared that this is traditionally the first event Miss Philadelphia attends after being crowned. The event draws a fun crowd of diverse people from the Greater Philadelphia Area and provides a great opportunity to mingle and make new connections. She also reiterated that the Red Cross is an “important and great cause to support.”
One of the highlights and draws of the event is all of the delectable food choices available for guests to enjoy. There were over two dozen appetizer and dessert vendors that served everything from pork croquettes and pizza to water ice and strawberry shortcake.
One volunteer, Tashema Johnson, raved about the food when sharing why she volunteers for the Red Cross. “I initially started volunteering with my old job a few years ago. When I left, I had already been so involved and supportive of the mission that I didn’t want to stop volunteering. I currently volunteer at the local Red Cross House, but I also support the organization at fire safety events and of course the Red Ball. I love volunteering at the Red Ball because I get to learn about different restaurants and caterers in the city to try out and because I’m guaranteed to wear a nice dress,” she said.
Throughout the evening, guests are able to vote on their favorite appetizer and dessert vendors. This year’s winners were Mission BBQ and Candies and Cakes by Mary Ellen, who both won for the second year in a row.
My favorite appetizers were the Pork Croquettes at Walnut Street Café, Chickie’s and Pete’s Crab Fries and Cheese, and the melt in your mouth scallops served by Devon Seafood during the VIP pre-game party. My favorite dessert was definitely the Moscato drenched water ice served by Mr. D’s Sweets.
In the end, guests partied the night away thanks to the talented CTO bands who got people on their feet and on to the dance floor. Overall, the event was a warm evening filled with fun people, incredible food and was geared towards supporting the mission of the Red Cross.
Next year I’m looking forward to another mission driven evening with great food and incredible fashion. Did I mention how incredible everyone looked in almost every shade of red in countless different styles? Red Ball 2018 was definitely a fashion moment for the City of Philadelphia.