HSNB honors actress and animal activist Betty White in birthday celebration – The Vacaville Reporter

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With seven decades on screen and countless sitcom roles, it's hard to imagine how Betty White's legacy could be more inspiring. And yet the television pioneer's lifelong commitment to animal activism presents an equally impressive legacy.

And which has only grown.

Following White's passing on December 31, 2021, the world came together to celebrate his 100th birthday by honoring his lifelong love of animals. In a viral movement dubbed #BettyWhiteChallenge, shelters around the world encouraged donations in recognition of Betty White's incredible activism.

Two years later, White's impact is still going strong. While the goal remains the same – to raise money for animal shelters – the Humane Society of North Bay adapted the challenge into a Betty White-themed dinner.

“It's a fundraiser, but it's also an opportunity for friends of the shelter to come together and have a fun evening,” said Linda Overton, HSNB fundraising chair.

HSNB's inaugural anniversary celebration took place last year. The response from attendees was met with such praise that Overton immediately knew he had to return this year.

The return of favorites like dessert and a drawing of Betty's favorite things involves a lot of “Betty research,” Overton said.

“We researched Betty’s favorite things. We discovered his favorite drink and his favorite food, which was actually hot dogs,” Overton said.

When searching for items for the raffle, Overton said he wanted to bring items White might appreciate, like a fancy wallet. In this way, the holiday is as much a celebration of white people as their favorite cause.

The dessert touch was another aspect where research and creative efforts played a role. From a 7 Up cake to a decadent creation paying homage to White's show, “Hot in Cleveland,” attendees could bid to get a taste of White's life.

And of course, what would a birthday party be without a birthday cake?

The highest bidder in the dessert race received first choice among the treats, making it no surprise that the birthday cake was the first to go. What Overton didn't expect was the camaraderie that would result among the participants. The winners proceeded to share their desserts with other people at their table, many of whom they had just met that evening.

Reflecting on his favorite memories from their freshman year, Overton recounted how many people became friends that night. “Many people have told me how much fun it is and how much they enjoy meeting new people.”

The intimate setting of the event is deliberately conducive to fostering these connections. Hosted at Provisions in Vallejo, the restaurant encourages a cozy dining atmosphere rather than a large-scale fundraiser.

Balancing elegance and home cooking, this year's Italian dinner will open with charcuterie starters and cocktails, followed by a recognizable favorite: Grandma's homemade lasagna. The buffet will feature more specialties such as a winter citrus and avocado salad and classic Italian meatballs.

After some renovations last year, Provisions allowed for a slight increase in guest numbers with 60 tickets available, five more than last year.

In addition to avoiding large crowds, Overton is also avoiding live music, instead hoping to encourage more of the community and conversations she's seen over the past year.

Because Betty White was both an entertainment legend and an animal rights activist, Overton said it was wonderful to see the mix of people in attendance. It's a combination of people who are familiar with the shelter, but also people who want to come to a more intimate party to celebrate the beloved actress.

IF YOU ARE GOING TO:

WHAT: Celebrating HSNB's Betty White's Birthday

OR: Provisions, 1121 Sonoma Boulevard, Vallejo

WHEN: January 13, 5:30 p.m.

TICKETS: $85, can be purchased at: hsnb.networkforgood.com/events/65550-betty-white-birthday-celebration

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