AAP – Food Samaritans (AAP) has announced that they have cancelled their 27th annual Evening Under the Stars gala, which was scheduled to take place at the O’Donnell Golf Club in Palm Springs on Saturday, April 30, 2022.

AAP – Food Samaritans’ Executive Director Mark Anton said the following in a message to supporters:

“I’ve made the difficult decision to cancel our 2022 gala, Evening Under the Stars. Everyone had hoped that this would be the year to bring it back after the cancelations due to COVID for the last two years.

The cumulative effects of supply chain issues, labor shortages, food cost increases, and other factors have driven the expenses for the event into the stratosphere. The catering alone for our traditional formal seated dinner has risen a staggering 43%, and all of our other costs have risen similarly. We analyzed every aspect of the event to try and find ways to deliver the quality that our guests have come to expect while reigning in costs, and sadly it’s just not possible. We simply cannot in good conscience put on an event – even one that is so beloved in the community and so important to recognize our donors, partners, volunteers, and the community as a whole – if it results in a loss which would then reduce the level of support that we are able to provide to our clients who are battling food insecurity issues. And, as you know prices at the grocery store have been skyrocketing, so the need for our program is increasing dramatically. Canceling, though regrettable, is the responsible thing to do.

Evening Under the Stars has become recognized in the community as one of the most respected and enjoyable fundraising events in the desert. It’s earned that accolade year after year based on the essential – but not always easy – foundation of “doing it right.” We will reimagine Evening Under the Stars for spring of 2023 and look forward to a fresh, new format that will deliver a spectacular experience for our guests while also raising much needed funds to help sustain the organization’s food voucher program. We have some obstacles in front of us, but with time and some creative thinking and planning, Evening Under the Stars can continue to be a vehicle to share AAP – Food Samaritans’ mission and engage people to get involved and support its work.

At a time like this, we must reflect on the mission of the organization. I did, and it helped guide me as I made this decision.

I completely understand that this is a disappointment to you, especially for those of you who have supported us and attended Evening Under the Stars for many years. We so appreciate everyone who has purchased tickets and/or tables to date. We will honor refund requests, but we would humbly ask that you consider donating your ticket / table back to AAP – Food Samaritans to support our work. If your deduction has been already taken on your 2021 tax return, please consult your tax advisor. Please let us know if you would like an amended donation letter.

As with any change like this, we are choosing to look at the opportunity this presents; Evening Under the Stars has had a wonderful run, but this will allow us to think of new, innovative, fun, meaningful ways to recognize and appreciate our donors, our volunteers and the community. Stay tuned for details. I hope that you will appreciate our predicament and I thank you for your grace and understanding.”

Evening Under the Stars is the largest annual fundraiser for AAP – Food Samaritans, a non-profit organization that provides nutritional support for low-income people living with HIV/AIDS and other chronic illnesses. For more information, please call 760-325-8481 or visit aapfoodsamaritans.org.