Books & Brunch, Uncorked lead November's events

I don't know about you, but this (slightly) colder weather makes me want to curl up with a good book in front of a fire. And when I'm all snuggled in with my trusty (if somewhat worn) blanket, my thoughts inevitably turn to holiday shopping.

Luckily for me, Assistance League Chicagoland West is hosting the 27th annual Books & Brunch on Nov. 14 at The Abbington in Glen Ellyn. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., guests can bid on silent auction items, participate in multiple raffles - including ones for exclusive vacation and jewelry packages - and shop at pop-up boutiques. The highlight of the afternoon is usually during the luncheon portion of the day when guests get to find out more about Assistance League's work in the area, and the program begins.

Assistance League's motto, "Transforming Lives, Strengthening Community," certainly seems apt. In the last fiscal year, ALCW served almost 8,500 individuals in the community, and boasted more than 11,000 volunteer hours by its members. Since 1996, ALCW has given back more than $2.4 million to communities through programs like Operation School Bell, which improves attendance, self-esteem and literacy for students in need.

Last year's event included a particularly moving speech by a school social worker who spoke of the importance of ALCW's work to provide emergency clothing and personal items for students in need, especially winter coats for elementary and middle school students.

Additionally, ALCW supplies essential kitchen equipment for those transitioning from homelessness to independent living, and also provides scholarships at College of DuPage for unemployed adults seeking a new career path. Most of these programs rely on Books & Brunch for funding.

Perhaps the most entertaining part of the day is when three featured authors - Keir Graff, Frank Sennett and Liesl Shurtliff this year - sit down with moderator and fellow local author Andrea Thome to discuss their work.

On returning to serve as the moderator of the event year over year, Andrea says,

"I was fortunate to be one of the guest authors a few years ago, and I was so bowled over by the mission of ALCW, I became a member," Thome said. "I love not only moderating Books and Brunch each November, but also getting to do hands-on work, like packing coats and going back-to-school shopping with high school kids. There are even ways for young people to get involved through our Assist-teens program.

"Assistance League is a wonderful organization that makes a real impact in the lives of our neighbors in need, and Books and Brunch is our major fundraiser," she continued. "I hope the room at The Abbington in Glen Ellyn is packed again this year with our generous friends and benefactors. Shopping for your holiday gifts with the proceeds going to help others? That's my idea of a good time."

Tickets are $125. You can find out more at I'll be there looking for a new blanket and picking up a new book or three

Pull a cork for cancer

Just a few days prior to Books & Brunch, Scoreboard Charities is hosting its annual event, Uncorked.

Guests will gather from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, at the Drake in Oak Brook for an evening of sipping, shopping, entertainment by the Keithen Banks Band, and a fashion show and raffle for a $10,000 wardrobe makeover by Sweet William of Hinsdale.

In the past six years, Scoreboard Charities has raised $1.3 million in the fight against cancer. A portion of these proceeds has supported innovative research by funding clinical trials at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University, as well as Camp One Step, an organization that provides children battling cancer a chance to attend summer camp with peers who are facing similar challenges.

It's going to be a great night for a great cause! Find out more at

- Allison Peters of Hinsdale is the paper's society columnist.

Readers can email her at

[email protected].