- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 16, 2001

Once every year, CARE´s supporters get to raise their glasses, don dancing shoes and have a ball celebrating the organization´s worthy deeds.

And, of course, they raise significant sums ($500,000-plus this time around) in support of its efforts to provide food and medical supplies to the needy worldwide.

The theme of Friday´s 55th anniversary CARE Ball was decidedly Latin, which was, after all, entirely fitting for an event taking place at the Organization of American States. And that meant the entertainment was bound to be lively, as well: It´s not hard to rivet the revelers with a troupe of scantily clad Brazilian dancers samba-ing through a crowded ballroom.

Even more decadent were the desserts, served on elaborate buffets, which provided sugary energy bursts for guests joining in the dancing once the R&B music started to flow.

Numerous members of the ambassadorial corps, 33 of whom had hosted intimate preball dinners at their homes, were among the 600 guests who turned out for the cause.

The embassy dinners, which are a major draw, are the perfect place to mix and mingle with VIPs from the political and diplomatic world. At the Swiss Embassy, for example, Sen. Judd Gregg, a New Hampshire Republican, and former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, were among those sipping Ambassador Alfredo Defago´s champagne before dinner while enjoying the unparalleled backyard view of the Washington Monument.

Throughout the long evening of dining, dancing and driving between the two, guests never lost sight of CARE´s ongoing mission, which was of particular concern to international businessmen whose companies had made major contributions.

Flemming R. Jacobs, president and CEO of APL, an international shipping firm with decades-long ties to CARE, said CARE´s mission remains as vital as ever, especially since an estimated 2.8 billion people throughout the world live on less than $2 a day.

"There´s a lot more to it than sending out temporary relief," he said. "CARE also has people on the ground who establish education and health centers."

Last year, it should be noted, CARE passed on 91 percent of its revenues directly to its programs, which helped 27 million people in dealing with such disasters as flooding in Mozambique and the recent earthquake in India.

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