NORTH ATTLEBORO - While a wintry mix fell outside, more than 300 people stayed warm and dry in the greenhouse of Briggs Garden and Home during New Hope's sixth annual Moonlit Wine, Beer and Food Tasting gala on Saturday night.

The annual event, which also had a live and silent auction as well as a raffle, helps raise critical funding to support New Hope's life-saving and life-enhancing services, whose programs provide both crisis intervention to survivors of domestic and sexual abuse, as well as prevention programs within the community.

During the evening, New Hope unveiled its new logo: the sun on the horizon, which New Hope's Vice President of Public Relations, Laura Hennessey Martens, says is a symbol of hope, and is more inviting to all survivors of domestic and sexual abuse, regardless of whether they are male, female or in the LGBT community.

"It's more inclusive, and it's about helping all genders," said New Hope's Executive Director Kimberly Thomas.

For the second year, Vantel Pearls, who is partnered with New Hope, had its table of "Shells of Hope," in which those in attendance could write messages of hope on decorative seashells.

"It's more meaningful this year, because more people are coming back to put down an inspirational message that they've thought about for a whole year," said Vantel Pearls owner Joan Hartel Cabral.

Within the greenhouse, the air was full of the aromas from the two dozen local restaurants who cooked up such delicacies as white fish cakes with chipotle aioli, roasted root vegetable soup with asiago croutons, and pan-seared scallops with risotto.

In addition, 16 tables provided samples from dozens of wine and beer available at Kelley Boulevard Wines & Liquors, and Route 106 Wines and Spirits.

While the food, drink and live music created a warm and welcoming ambiance in of itself, the spirit of community warmed the spirit of Martens.

"It's so incredibly rewarding and heartwarming to see all these different people from all these different places here tonight," she said.

"Everyone is doing their part and coming together for a good cause ... we all own (the issue of domestic and sexual violence), but we can all go out and do something about it. Everyone has something to offer for the cause.

Sponsors, food vendors

Sponsors for the evening were as follows:

Presenting sponsors - Lori Anderson, first vice president of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management; Gallo Moving & Storage; and Verizon.

Media sponsor - The Sun Chronicle; Venue sponsor - Briggs; Wine and beer vendors - Route 106 Wine & Spirits and Kelley Boulevard Wine & Liquors; Wine glass sponsor - Nelson Family Dental; Lighting sponsor: Stay Green Irrigation; and Shell of Hope sponsor: Vantel Pearls.

Food vendors for the evening include - Clam Shack; Dinner and Company Gourmet Catering; Edible Arrangements; Fitzy's Pub; Honey Dew Donuts; Hong Kong City; J&L Catering; Morin's Diner; Sangria's; Scorpio's; Tavolino; 3 Restaurant and Wetherlaines Pub.

JUDEE COSENTINO can be reached at

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