Volunteer organization AILO (American International League of Florence Onlus) held its annual Thanksgiving celebration on Thursday, November 17, 2016 at Hotel Tornabuoni Beacci. Approximately 50 members and guests were present, enjoying a moment of fellowship and reflection ahead of the official holiday on November 24. Guests in attendance represented St. Mark’s English Church, the Tuscan American Association, The Florentine and the City of Florence, among numerous other institutions and organizations.
After a welcome cocktail, the lunch opened with remarks from current AILO president Jocelyn Fitzgerald, who spoke about an increased need for community involvement and charitable giving in an ever-changing world, thanking members for the work carried out and guests for their support. The Reverend Canon Mark Dunnam, rector at St. James’ Episcopal Church in Florence, followed Fitzgerald’s comments with a blessing. Guests enjoyed traditional Thanksgiving standards like turkey, mashed potatoes, peas and pumpkin pie, along with some Tuscan touches: Sangiovese wine, pumpkin soup and espresso to round out the meal.
The event also included a raffle to benefit FAWCO (Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas), an international conglomerate of independent clubs, of which AILO is a member. FAWCO’s mission is to empower women and girls worldwide, to build strong support networks, to advocate for the rights of US citizens abroad and to support global efforts benefitting education, the environment, health and human rights. Funds collected at this year’s AILO raffle will go toward educational initiatives for women and girls. Prizes included a gourmet gift basket, a quilt handwoven by multiple AILO members and two specialty wines.
AILO’s mission is to contribute to community well-being through social assistance programs and charity fundraising in the city and throughout the province of Florence, while also cultivating friendship between Italians and its members. Their next major event is the 2016 Christmas Bazaar on December 10 (3.30–7pm) and 11 (10.30am–7pm), to be held at the Convitto della Calza (piazza della Calza 6, by Porta Romana).