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Action Against Hunger Stages a Glittering Million-Dollar Gala

Actor Susan Sarandon and supermodel Christy Turlington at ACF's Gala, World Food Day, 2006

Action Against Hunger's annual fundraising gala in honor of World Food Day collected more than $1 million for the first time ever. The event was co-chaired by board members Alexis Azria and Cristina Enriquez-Bocobo.

Held November 15, 2006 at Capitale Restaurant in New York City, more than 300 benefactors bought tickets to the glittering evening honoring actor Susan Sarandon, chairman and CEO of Medical Instill Technologies Dr. Daniel Py, and Ayaz Mohammed Amin, who is Action Against Hunger’s National Staff Member of the Year. An elegant dinner was served with menu items designed and prepared by Chef Andrew Gold of the Institute of Culinary Education, Chef Paul Liebrandt of Gilt, and Chef Joseph Murphy of Jean-George. Under the auctioneer-stylings of Sotheby’s Jamie Niven, attendees bid for such luxury auction items as a party for 12 at the world-class restaurant Le Bernardin and a case of Château Lafite Rothschild ’97. In addition, attendees bought “Wishing Well” items for the humanitarian organization’s beneficiaries such as medicines that return starving children to health, grinding mills to help feed villages that lack them, and new wells to supply communities with clean water.

Unexpectedly, an attending family announced during the evening that they would match all "Wishing Well" purchases, which amounted to more than $270,000. Their generosity pushed the total contributions generated by the evening to $1.07 million.

During the evening's program, Susan Sarandon was honored for her work supporting diverse humanitarian efforts, most notably as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, a spokesperson for Heifer International, and an advocate for victims of hunger and HIV/AIDS. She was introduced and given the award by documentary filmmaker Michael Moore.

The second honoree was Dr. Daniel Py, formerly head of ophthalmic research and development at Merck and currently Chairman and CEO of Medical Instill Technologies, Inc. as well as an assistant professor at Yale University's School of Medicine and a director of Action Against Hunger. Dr. Py invented a method to promote graft healing and helped develop Ivermectin, a medicine treating the disease river blindness as well as developing treatments for other ophthalmic ailments. Dr. Py's award was presented by Cover model, Author and Co-founder/President, Nuala, Christy Turlington Burns.

The third honoree was Ayaz Mohammed Amin, an Action Against Hunger Food Security Supervisor in Pakistan, who lived in a tent high in the snow-covered Himalayas throughout last winter to ensure delivery of food and emergency supplies to the victims of 2005's 7.6-magnitude earthquake.

The evening's proceeds benefit Action Against Hunger, which is recognized as a world leader in the fight against hunger and malnutrition. The non-governmental, non-profit, non-religious organization is active in more than 40 developing countries in response to emergency situations of war, conflict, and natural disaster. The organization's innovative and cost-effective programs in nutrition, water and sanitation, food security, health care, and advocacy help vulnerable populations regain their self-sufficiency. More than 90 cents of every dollar donated to Action Against Hunger goes directly to humanitarian relief.

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