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published on 01/24/2007

Maria Cain Matthews named Junior League Sustainer of the Year

By Contributed Article

The Junior League of Chattanooga held their annual Sustainer Holiday luncheon at Chattanooga Golf and Country Club on the 1st of December. The event, chaired by Brandi Buntain, was the perfect event to get everyone in the holiday spirit. The JL is an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is primarily educational and charitable. Founded in 1917, the JLC currently has over 600 active and sustaining members of the organization.

The JL President, Jennifer Nicely, began the luncheon with a brief business meeting. Brandi Buntain gave the blessing, and the guests enjoyed an amazing luncheon of chicken crepes, green beans, and salad with Paris dressing, followed by a festive dessert of peppermint ice cream and chocolate sauce. The room’s décor got everyone into the holiday spirit with beautiful poinsettias and small gift wrapped presents with red flowing ribbons provided by Mrs. Keith Berry and the Junior League Sustainer Garden Club.

Always an anticipated moment during the luncheon, Membership Vice President Missy McKenna presented the Elise Chapin Moon Sustainer of the Year Award. Mrs. Elise Chapin Moon was the first President of the Junior League of Chattanooga in 1916. The Elise Chapin Moon Outstanding Sustainer Award is given each year in her honor to the sustainer that has given beyond the call of duty for the Junior League of Chattanooga and the Chattanooga community.

This year’s recipient, Maria Kain Matthews, remained an Active member of the League even though she was technically a Sustainer. She has served on the Board of the Chattanooga Food Bank, but it has been her dedication to the League that has been truly outstanding. Combining her knowledge of fund development and her passion for art, she was instrumental in creating the successful art auction held in conjunction with our annual Holiday Luncheon. She is a Sustainer who says “yes” even before she is asked, and her dynamic people skills have made her a joy to work with. She has been, and continues to be, a valuable resource to the Junior League of Chattanooga. Maria continues to participate as a sustainer. It was under her vision and hard work that the art auction began and has continued to grow over the last four years.

After lunch and the Sustainer Award presentation, Mrs. Sally Foster, founder of Sally Foster Gift Wrap, spoke to the group about her Junior League experiences and how she came to start the Sally Foster Gift Wrap company, which helps schools to raise funds by selling gift wrap paper, gift bags, and other gifts. She currently serves as a consultant for the Sally Foster Division of Entertainment, Inc. and is still responsible for the wrapping paper design and all the products in the catalog. Foster credits the Junior League in honing her skills in finance and fundraising, which helped in the development of business.

As the wonderful luncheon wrapped up, guests received a final treat at their places. Curtis Reser Hair Salon graciously provided everyone with individually wrapped gift bags with fabulous shampoo and conditioner. The salon is located at 8004 East Brainerd Road. The guests also received one door prize per table, donated by various businesses around town.

A special thanks goes to the Stone Fort Inn who graciously donated a night’s stay for our speaker. We also appreciated all the many artists and businesses that donated art and various items for the luncheon.

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