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Hats in the Garden Tea helps HCW grow its services

Lucette Moramarco

Associate Editor

The Hats in the Garden Ninth Annual Tea and Silent Auction raised much-needed funds for Hope Clinic For Women Saturday, Oct. 14. This year’s event, held at the Fallbrook Community Center, had a 1920’s theme. Supporters dressed up in period clothes and hats and enjoyed lunch from Trupiano’s Italian Bistro along with tea and fancy cupcakes.

Besides exploring the 192 silent auction items (including baskets, artwork, blankets, etc.) and 245 jewelry items, the 241 guests could buy raffle tickets for 15 fantastic prizes including a fire pit filled with S’mores ingredients and popcorn, and a wicker chest full of supplies for movie night.

The crowd of all ages enthusiastically anticipated the calling of each drawing’s ticket number, whooping and hollering for the lucky winners. The guests who were all dressed up posed for photos at the photo booth and bought vintage hats with half of the proceeds going to HCW.

Among the volunteers working at the event were Miss Fallbrook and Miss Teen Fallbrook and their court, as well as Fallbrook High students, Zion Lutheran Youth, American Heritage Girls and Trail Life.

With the help of all the volunteers, the tea and auction raised $29,476.53, just shy of the $30,000 goal.

HCW provides support for expectant mothers with one-on-one mentoring, medical care, education options, coaches for men and parenting courses. In 2022, 27 babies were born to moms at HCW. At 807 client visits over 3,380 free services were provided.

The clinic did all this with dedicated staff and volunteers who served over 2,500 hours and at no cost to the community, state or federal governments. All funds were donated by a supportive Fallbrook community.

Twenty fatherhood coaches have been recruited this year and the clinic has been able to add a fourth day to its weekly services. The goal for next year is to add a fifth day, an evening or weekend time to support young men.

While pregnant women today have a lot of support, in 1963, expectant mothers did not have that extensive level of support, as the guest speakers revealed in their story.

Donna Hickman related how she met her husband Del in 1960 and they became high school sweethearts. She found out she was pregnant in fall of 1963. Del’s mother gave them the money for an abortion, but she couldn’t go through with it, so her mother looked for help and found the Door of Hope, a home for unwed mothers run by the Salvation Army.

Del was able to visit her there, but she had long, lonely days before giving birth to a girl on May 24, 1964. The baby was put up for adoption and they prayed that she would find a loving family and home. The following year, they were married and went on to have two more children, Dave and Denise.

Fifty-seven years after giving up their baby, Donna and Del received a letter in the mail, from their first child. It was a big surprise because they didn’t know that Denise had signed up with 23andMe and through her DNA test had discovered that she had a full sister (who she did not know about).

Beth Hutson said she had a wonderful life with her adoptive family but felt like she didn’t fit in because she didn’t look like anyone in her family. After much online correspondence and many phone calls, she met her birth parents on April 8, 2022.

Beth is a gynecologist with her own practice in Reno, Nevada. She has visited her parents here and they have visited her and her husband in Nevada. At the tea, Beth said that when she first met Donna and Del in person, she looked into their eyes and told them that she “saw me, saw you, saw God….Thank you for giving me life.”

The Hickman’s presentations at the tea can be viewed at

HCW is holding a Christmas Open House Saturday, Dec. 2 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 125 E. Hawthorne St. Free to all, children are especially welcome. The event will feature a Christmas Shop with a selection of holiday gift baskets, handbags and jewelry, refreshments, Christmas music and tours of the clinic. All proceeds go to support special activities with Hope moms in 2024.

Visitors will also learn about opportunities to be part of HCW’s campaign to pay off the mortgage on its building. For more information, call Carolyn Koole at 760-728-4105, ext. 10.


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