in partnership
Gene Juarez poses with the president of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel at the 30th annual Celebrity Waiter's Luncheon. (Image: Joshua Lewis / Seattle Refined)

30th annual Celebrity Waiters Luncheon

Yesterday was the 30th annual Celebrity Waiters Luncheon, where Seattle locals and celebrities came together to raise almost $450,000 for the Millionair Club Charity.

Gene Juarez, former Seahawks, Mariners and Sonics players and more attended the lunch at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, and the following auction (the largest auction of its type in the country).

"Thirty years ago when we started this, we wanted to do something fun," said Gene Juarez, Chairman of the CWL Board, and one of the original 1984 waiters. "We wanted to put the fun back into fundraiser."

Looking around, there was a lot of fun going on - even at 11:30 a.m. on a Friday. The theme of the auction was the '80s (taking it back to 1984 when the luncheon was founded). Juarez points to the man standing next to me, fully decked out in KISS gear (painted face and all),

"That's the president of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel."

I lost count of the leg warmers, leotards, sunglasses and perms in attendance (check out the gallery for the evidence). But despite all the fun being had, people did not forget the reason they were there. Early reports (as of Friday night), showed that $450,000 was raised.

All those funds are going directly to the Millionair Club Charity, a Seattle-based program founded in 1921, and dedicated to getting the Seattle homeless jobs, and food.

"This is our second year partnering with the Celebrity Waiters Luncheon," said Jim Miller, Executive Director of the Millionair Club. "It has made a huge difference. Last year we raised $300,000."

The Millionair Club serves around 600 plates of food a day, and last year they placed 115 previously homeless Seattleites in full times jobs.

"The goal is to give a hand up, not a hand out," said Miller.

According to data by the Club that approximates it costs them around $5,000 to help a capable man or woman get a permanent position, the $450,000 figure becomes a lot more significant; that's enough to get 90 people off the streets and into a steady job.

Check out the Millionair Club online to donate or volunteer, and keep an eye on the Celeb Waiters Luncheon as well - if for nothing else than to see what their theme for next year will be.