Jewish Family Services Brings Helen Hunt to Addison for Biennial Luncheon Fundraiser

Hundreds of women (and some men accompanying, too) filled a ballroom in the Renaissance Dallas Addison Hotel to celebrate the 10th anniversary Woman to Woman luncheon on May 25.

This year’s luncheon brought actress, writer, director, and producer Helen Hunt as the event’s headliner to give a speech and engage in conversation moderated by Sonia Azad from WFAA. The event’s original speaker, Kristin Chenoweth, canceled her appearance due to illness. 

“We are delighted to welcome Helen Hunt as our keynote speaker and know this luncheon will be an incredible celebration of all that has been made possible by our donors of this event the last two decades,” Jewish Family Service CEO Cathy Barker said. “We know that Helen’s message will be inspirational and fun for our attendees.”

The biennial event started in 2004 as a garden party with 100 attendees. Since its commencement 18 years ago, the luncheon has raised a total of $4.6 million, excluding this year’s totals.

The event, hosted by Jewish Family Services, enables the organization to provide mental health and social services to people of all ages, races, religions, or financial statuses.

JFS supported 39,000 individuals last year, a 427% increase from the 7,400 it had helped at the mark of the luncheon’s first year. However, the agency consistently has a queue of hundreds of people who need support, so funds raised from the event will help curb that. 

“I wondered how I would be able to convey just how incredibly sad some days are and how exceedingly rewarding others are,” JFS Director of Client Navigation Carey Nottingham said during the event. “Just how difficult it has been to be inundated with voicemails from people like you or me, asking for help for the very first time in their life.”

The luncheon started with an hour-long VIP reception, then guests made their way to the ballroom upstairs to commence the luncheon. Opening remarks from JFS members and executives provided information about the organization. Before Hunt and Azad took the stage, there was also a paddle raise, where attendees donated anything from $500 to $18,000 in live time. 

Raffles and a wine pull were two other ways attendees could support the cause. This year’s fundraising total has not yet been calculated. For more information about JFS, visit

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