By  on November 29, 2007

NEW YORK — It was a record-breaking night at the second annual KIDS/Fashion Delivers gala.

The two organizations worked together to raise $1.1 million for their causes at Tuesday's benefit, which included a silent auction, held at The Pierre Hotel here. With more than 750 people in attendance, the event beat last year's total of $740,000.

The gala, at which Gov. Eliot Spitzer gave a keynote address, honored Jerry Storch, chairman and chief executive officer of Toys 'R' Us Inc.; Abbey Doneger, president of The Doneger Group, and Artie Rabin, ceo of Wear Me Apparel/Kids Headquarters for their philanthropic efforts.

As part of the evening, the honorees helped to send off the KIDS/Fashion Delivers truck, donated by Li & Fung, filled with 1,500 Toys 'R' Us toys and other industry donations. The truck is heading to the San Diego Food Bank to deliver holiday gifts to victims of the West Coast fires.

"It's really very special how our industry comes together to support causes like this, and it's really been such a pleasure to see our hard work pay off," said Doneger, who has been actively involved on the KIDS board for more than 10 years and the Fashion Delivers board. "This is such a great cause that really helps children and families in need."

Rick Darling, ceo at Li & Fung, is a board member at Fashion Delivers, and said he has made the cause his main charity of choice. "It's a great way to participate in something important, but in a low-key way," he said.

During his speech, Spitzer made light of the recent controversy surrounding his plan to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, which has been withdrawn.

"I went to the doctor, and he said, 'Eliot, I want you to take a stress test,'" Spitzer said. "And I said to him, 'Where have you been over the last 11 months?'"

Spitzer praised the apparel industry for surviving in a challenging environment, in which manufacturing has shifted overseas.

"You've managed to thrive as manufacturing moves away from the United States," he said.

Spitzer also spoke about the importance of improving education in the state.

The hostess of the event was the newest member of ABC's "The View," Sherri Shepherd.

KIDS, which stands for Kids in Distressed Situations, and Fashion Delivers partnered about two years ago to help improve the lives of children and their families. Their mission is to provide new products from the worlds of apparel, toys, juvenile products and related industries to victims of natural disasters and poverty. KIDS recently celebrated 22 years and Fashion Delivers, its second year.

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