Bowls of cereal, business-casual attire, a local celebrity cereal eating contest, and supporting economically challenged students in our community. That’s what Thursday’s ninth annual Suits & Slippers fundraiser was all about.
Having raised $500,000 since it’s inception, the event invited guests to enjoy bowls cereal donated by General Mills while dressed in business suits paired with their most fashionable bedroom slippers. In addition to a cereal sculpture contest, a silent auction, and rooting for their favorite celebrity, guests got also to learn more about the work of the Robert’s Family Development Center, for which the fundraiser is hosted each year.
The RFDC provides quality support services to children and families in low income neighborhoods throughout Sacramento. Opening in North Sacramento 13 years ago, the center, whose programs include an after-school program, summer camps, teen activities, a computer cafe, and parent empowerment activities, now also provides services in neighborhoods in Meadowview, Del Paso Heights, Downtown Sacramento, and North Highlands.
“I grew up in the housing projects in New Orleans, so where we are is typically neighborhoods that I grew up in—economically challenged, poor working families who are trying to make ends meat,” said Derrell Roberts, co-founder and CEO of the RFDC. “Our kids tend to graduate from high school, do academically well in school, attend school more, and tend to be a bit healthier because their parents know what the resources are in their community to make sure they have preventative measures in place.”
And where would these kids be without the RFDC?
“[They] would be part of the social ill statistics—dropout rate, more teen pregnancies, things like that. What we do is provide an avenue where kids can find something better to do so in their life they can see better outcomes by connecting with us,” Roberts said.
The RFDC’s largest fundraiser each year is the Suits & Slippers event. A fun part of the event was the local celebrity cereal eating contest. The winners of the contest, which was divided into a women and men’s category, were former NBA players, Ruthie Bolton and Pete Chilcutt.
And how did it feel for Chilcutt to win? “Well I’m used to it,” Chilcutt said smiling. “Trained athlete, former NBA champion…whatever the contest, I win.”
Chilcutt, who is now a teacher, had an incentive to win, not only to support a cause he believes in as an educator himself, but also to not let down a small crowd of his students who to his surprise showed up with “Go Pete Eat!” signs.
“When they walked in with their slippers and then their signs…I kinda had to win after that,” Chilcutt said. “I was thinking, if I’m gonna loose this, not only will my own kids at home but my students also would give me a hard time. So I put a little extra effort in there.”
All this for an organization aiming to provide a safe and supportive home away from home for struggling families in our community. For more information and to learn how to support or volunteer at the RFDC, visit www.robertsfdc.com.