Small Talk: Children’s Services hosts 16th annual wine tasting dinner
Jan 11, 2014 | 1281 views |  0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Janet Prosser, Brigitte Miller, Mandi King and Syndee Isbell finalize plans for the upcoming Children’s Services wine tasting dinner to benefit the Parris Home for Children. Submitted photo
Janet Prosser, Brigitte Miller, Mandi King and Syndee Isbell finalize plans for the upcoming Children’s Services wine tasting dinner to benefit the Parris Home for Children. Submitted photo
It is the goal of Children Services Inc. to maintain a nurturing home life for children placed in state custody. For many years, this was done with foster parents and emergency shelters, but in 1989, after a generous donation from Federal Mogul, a long-term plan came into being.

Property was acquired and converted into a group home for children ages 6 to 18 who have been removed from their own homes due to abuse or neglect. Today it is known as the Parris Home for Children — named in memory of Louise “Bea” Parris, the longtime executive director of Children’s Services.

“It is the only home of its kind in this area,” said Kay Tolbert, the agency’s current director. “And we consider it to be a real home with a real family.”

Resting on more than two acres, the Parris Home offers its residents a play area, basketball court and enough bicycles for every child. With a rotating staff, two parents are on the premises at all times. These parents cook all the meals, do laundry and even attend parent-teacher conferences at schools. Tolbert reports that former residents frequently return to visit or seek advice, just as any grown children would with their own parents.

Maintaining a home — especially one with multiple children — is expensive, which is why fundraising is a necessity for the Parris Home for Children. And when it comes to fundraising, the Children’s Services board of directors knows how to do it up right. Every January, they play host to one of the area’s largest and most successful charitable events — the annual Wine Tasting Dinner. This year’s event will be held Jan. 18 at Classic on Noble in downtown Anniston beginning at 6 p.m.

Co-chairs Margo Finch and Brigitte Miller are working diligently with Mandi King on the four-course dinner that is sure to be the talk of the town. In preparation for the event, Janet Prosser of Tyson’s Fine Wines and Things is joining forces with Syndee Isbell from International Wines to select pairings for each course. These two ladies will put together a delightful array of almost two dozen wines for guests to sample before, during and after dinner.

“We will feature everything from the sweet and sparkling to big, bold reds,” said Prosser.

Guests will begin the evening tasting a variety of wines while mingling with friends and sampling a delectable assortment of heavy hors d’oeuvres. They will also be invited to browse an impressive collection of silent auction merchandise assembled by Scott Skinner and Pam Fite, including a beautiful piece of jewelry from San Miguel, Mexico, as well as Ralph Lauren artwork and wine glasses with decorative trays.

Later in the evening, Ted Heathcock and John Fuller will team up with emcee Craig Miller to launch a live auction with even more treasures up for grabs, including a weeklong vacay at a luxurious condo in Destin, Fla.

For questions or more information about the fundraising dinner, contact any Children’s Services board member including Ron Allen, Randall Moore, Braxton Harris, Brenda Shaw, Justin Lord, Manju Purohit, Kathie Jordan, David Wilson, Jennifer Yates, Elizabeth Renfroe and Jill Pike.

The $75 per person tickets will not be sold at the door, but can be purchased by calling Mandi King at 256-235-2553. But don’t delay — there is limited seating and this popular event sells out every year.


The Theatre of Gadsden presents “Noises Off” running Jan. 24 through Feb. 2. Find out what goes on behind the scenes of a theatrical production during this hilarious British farce featuring a play within a play. For tickets and showtimes, visit
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