Society / Featured Parties

Luncheon That Never Happened Raises a Record $1.8 Million for The Salvation Army in Houston

When a Non-Event Does Tremendous Good

BY // 02.04.21

Bumped and bumped again, the Salvation Army Annual Luncheon was one of the numerous charitable victims of COVID-19. Except that this Houston luncheon’s rescheduling and ultimate cancellation had no effect on the fundraising effort as the “non-event” raised a record $1,804,000.

Applause, applause for the quartet of dynamos that led this no-luncheon-luncheon to a roaring success. Taking bows would be luncheon chairs Jenny Elkins and Judy Tate, honoree Linda McReynolds and advisory board chair Ann Bookout, all four ardent Salvation Army supporters. (The 2019 luncheon raised a commendable $830,000.)

Not long after the chairs were named and the honoree revealed, the financial support started flowing in, so that by the time the rescheduled date of January 27 was declared a no-go, Salvation Army coffers had already been mightily enriched.

“We knew that Jenny and Judy would be fabulous co-chairs of this year’s Annual Luncheon,” Bookout tells PaperCity. “When COVID turned our world upside down, they were exactly who the Salvation Army needed to reach out to donors, old and new, to help those most in need because of the pandemic.”

With the luncheon finally cancelled for good, heads joined together, at the suggestion of incoming board chair Tom Forney, to create a commemorative book, a welcome alternative to a virtual event.

The book, Portraits of Hope, is a moving memento spotlighting the Salvation Army’s good works with testimonials from clients, a lovely salute to Linda McReynolds and a shoutout to the army’s generous donors. Beautifully photographed and masterfully produced, it is sure to be a keepsake for generations.

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Taking up the cause for the Salvation Army over the holidays — Jenny Elkins, Linda McReynolds, Judy Tate. (Photo by Jenny Antill Clifton)

In her decades of service to the Salvation Army, McReynolds has been a board member for more than 30 years and has chaired the Annual Luncheon nine times. She helped found the Salvation Army’s Women’s Auxiliary, as well as the Auxiliary’s Reflections on Style event, later serving as both chair and honoree of that event. She also led the statewide effort to celebrate the Salvation Army’s 100th Anniversary. In 2015, McReynolds was honored with the Margot Perot Spirit Award and earned the prestigious post of Lifetime Member of the Advisory Board.

Also in the book, Salvation Army supporter Rob Mosbacher gave tribute to McReynolds and her remarkable involvement with the army.

McReynolds was presented with the first copies of the book at an intimate gathering in Bookout’s River Oaks home where Houston area commanders Majors Zach and Shelley Bell led the tribute to one of the city’s leading philanthropists.

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