About Me

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Artists who paints in oil en plein aire. Member of the three member Plein Aire Cottage Artists. Members: Mary Rose Holmes, Violetta Chandler and Helen Tilston

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Gift of Food

My dining room awaits the arrival of friends

If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.  (Mother Teresa)

In late Summer, we were delighted to be informed by the Board at RCS Helps -
the Gift of Food, that we were selected as the artists for their 2011 fundraising
card.  In 2007 we were also the featured artists and over $18,000.00 was raised for
this worthwhile and necessary cause.

Our Lady of the Streets Oil Painting by Helen Tilston
The Gift of Food was started by some young students who observed that gifts are often
given at holiday time between business associates which are often wasted. One example
was food hampers - the student observed the recipient broke through the plastic and extracted
a bottle of wine, bottle of vinegar and discarded the remaining items of food which included,
cheeses, meats, jams, candies and such. This waste of good food bothered her when she knew
there were neighbours who were unemployed and in desperate need of food.  The idea of a
card "the gift of food" was formed.

The Gift of Food is an all volunteer, student-led group that raises funds
to buy food for the Religious Community Services (RCS) Food Bank. The RCS
Food Bank feeds over 5,000 people in our area every month, with the majority
of these being children. Each year, the money raised by The Gift of Food funds
the RCS/Gift of Food Endowment Fund within the Community Foundation of
Tampa Bay, which, once fully funded, will provide money to buy food for the RCS
Food Bank for many years to come.
Each year, we design and sell holiday cards featuring the work of a local artist
for $20 each. When you purchase our cards and give them to friends, relatives,
and business associates, you are giving the Gift of Food, and your donation will
help to feed the hungry in our community.
It's easy to give the Gift of Food. Here's how:

1. You purchase a Gift of Food card, thereby donating a Gift of Food in honor
of your colleague, customer, or friend instead of sending the annual fruit basket,
wine, or gift certificate.

2. Each card is only $20 and is tax deductible. Tax receipts will be sent to you
by the RCS/Gift of Food Endowment Fund within the Community Foundation of
Tampa Bay.

3. For each $20 donation, you will receive a beautiful card (with envelope) that tells
the recipient about the good you and they have done to help feed the hungry of our
Simply click onlink Gift of Food  to donate or purchase cards securely through PayPal. 
You do not need a PayPay account to purchase cards.To purchase cards securely


Our 2011 Gift of Food cards feature a painting by award-winning artists Mary Rose Holmes, Violetta Chandler and Helen Tilston. They have represented the USA at the Florence Biennale, received a State Award from Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, exhibited at Leepa Rattner and Cornell Museums. Their paintings are at Guppy's Restaurant, Villa Gallace, The Wine Cellar.
Contact information:
Tel. 813.294.2272 - E-Mail: tilston188@yahoo.com

The 2011 card features the art of the
Plein Aire Cottage Artists
Our current and past student volunteers include:
Founders Katherine & Margo Sultenfuss, Livi Ayers, Timothy Magidson,
Gregory Abdo, Kelly Coogan, Ellie Thomas,
Allegra Paolillo, Erica Soike, Sarah Wilkerson, Nicole Abdo, Bre Beirl,
Christina Cardy, Maggie Coogan, Erin Showalter, Charles Thomas,
Christina Warner, Amanda Hobson, Megan Murphy, Christine Sinicrope,
Justin Haas

If you have any questions please contact Sherry Sultenfuss, Gift of Food
coordinator (727) 586-6267

The statement of purpose is to feed the hungry in our community
for years to come by contributing to the RCS/Gift of Food Endowment Fund
Within the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay. All endowment donations
are earmarked for the purchase of food at the RCS Food Bank. A copy of the
official registration and financial information may by obtained from the Division 
of Consumers Services by calling toll free, within the State of Florida: 
800-435-7352. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or 
recommendation by the state. Registration CH1242. 

We realize these are tough economic times for many.  Many international readers have their own charities which they support.  We fully understand.  Your kind thoughts and good wishes and energy for the success of this fund drive are sufficient.   For this we thank you sincerely.


  1. Well done Helen... what a wonderful cause to be a part of... xv

  2. What a beautiful initiative Helen and such an honour to be chosen as one of the artists who will make the fund-raising card! Will you show it to us once finished?

    Lieve groet & happy new week,

    Madelief x

  3. What an exquisite little painting! So great that you are a part of something so great!!

  4. Helen,

    What a wonderful idea....and how wonderful that you are a part of such a great thing.

    xo annie

  5. Vicki Archer

    Oh Vicki thank you for reading and commenting. The fundraising is going very well. Thank you for your good wishes
    Helen xx

  6. HI Helen
    How wonderful that your precious art has been chosen to help such a great cause!! And what a great cause it is.. feeding those who need it.. such a simple need and often overlooked..

    Have a great week.. ciao xxx Julie

  7. Hello Madelief

    It is indeed a great cause and we are delighted to help in our little way
    The card is actually at the bottom of the post, it is a trip tych - one panel by each artist.

    My best and thank you for your enthusiastic good wishes
    Helen xx

  8. Elizabeth Rose Stanton

    Thank you Elizabeth for your favourable comment on my little painting. I am flattered to receive such a high compliment from such a respected and well known artist. Your comment is very special to me Elizabeth


  9. Hi Helen, What an honor to selected as the featured artist for the fund raising card. This is such a worthwhile project. Congratulations and well done!

    The French Hutch

  10. Dearest Annie

    Thank you for your visit and kind words and enthusiasm. My best
    Helen xx

  11. Julie @ Being Ruby

    We are thrilled to be a small part of this excellent and necessary cause.
    Like you said Ruby, "a simple need and often overlooked"
    Wishing you a great week too

  12. Emily@ The French Hut

    Thank you for your kindness - we do feel it is a good and necessary cause.
    There are many homeless families, living in their cars, in Florida. Many with school going children and they live beneath the radar for fear of their children being taken and put into foster care.
    Prayers and generosity are needed.
    Helen xx

  13. Good luck with this fine cause, Helen. Giving food has such fundamental worth in our overcommercialised society.

  14. Hello Mise

    Thank you Mise for your support. You are spot on, in our overly commercialized society we often overlook the basic needs of our neighbours.
    Helen xx

  15. Hello Helen
    The card is beautiful and for such a great cause too... well done for all your wonderful fundraising efforts!

    I absolutely love your oil painting 'Our Lady of the Streets'.... just beautiful!

    I hope you are having a good week. Abby xx

  16. Oh Helen,
    What a beautiful Blessed Mother and Christ Child...it's as if Mother Teresa was in the room when your were placing your brush on the canvas.
    Such a gift of love!

  17. What a great initiative, Helen! It's amazing how the number is rising at the food bank. Sadly, hunger remains a big problem. A great honor for you that you are chosen by the fund. I hope the proceeds from the cards, will feed many mouths. With each other, for each other!

    My husband works at 3M, an American company.
    3M Worldwide works with the Community Giving Program: supporting projects in the social, educational and environmental. Within each subsidiary has its own CSR programs that meet the local culture, community and environment. Purpose: Charities and non-commercial support organizations.
    The five nominated goals may come and present their plans. Receive a Great Gift, the donation of € 50,000. In 2010 it was dog-Help Foundation.
    For the final candidates of 2010, 3M-ers a special one-started fundraising: an expedition to the summit of Mont Blanc. The numbers two through five may distribute the proceeds of this expedition '3 M Fund To the Top! "

    How nice in this way to support people!

    Have a nice day!

  18. And I forget to say... your paintings are so beautiful!

  19. My Spotty Pony
    Dear Abby

    Thany you for your heartfelt good wishes. I know you and Spotty Pony certainly do your wonderful works for society in your area.
    Thank you for the kind compliment on my "Lady of Poverty" I have just begun a new painting of her, this time a different model. I am asking for divine inspiration to help me with this one.

    Have a great mid week.

    Helen xx

  20. Dreams on 34th Street

    Dear Lynn

    Thank you for your words of kindness.
    I do think there is "divine intervention" when painting the Blessed Mother and Jesus. I will put St. Mother Teresa's Image in my studio.
    My best

    Helen xx

  21. Steve

    Hello Steve

    Thank you sincerely for your kind words, I appreciate these words of support coming from such a famous artist. Your works is superb.

    Helen xx

  22. Passione Helena

    Yes, Helena there are so many hungry mouths and good people, through an economy which is trying to improve and yet who have suddenly felt a need for support from Food Banks.

    I have the utmost of respect from 3M for what you have indicated they do. Bravo - well done.

    Thank you for your compliment on my "Lady of the Streets".

    Thank you for being my new follower and for also joining Plein Aire Cottage Artists blogspot.

    Helen xx

  23. Helen - it is wonderful that you can help and support others with your beautiful art.

  24. This is really wonderful! We love doing various things to help those in need. Thanks for all that you do to make this holiday better for others! ♥

  25. Congratulations Helen!
    This is so truly well-deserved.
    Your work is just magnificent.
    Sending you wishes for a beautiful weekend.

  26. This sounds like a wonderful cause Helen and best wishes for it's every success.
    In my city the large grocery stores have huge bins whereby customers can place purchased non-perishables for distribution to the less fortunate through local charities.
    Every little bit counts.

  27. Hi Helen, thanks for stopping by...I'm glad you're enjoying my tour around London. I just love visiting at this time of year even though the streets are clogged with shoppers...and with the early darkness the lights really come into their own. Have a great weekend. Robx

  28. Helen,

    You use your talents well...to help many more. That is what I believe our heart asks us to do and when we follow our heart we are never dissapointed. Great cause to be a part of.


  29. Oh Helen,

    What a kind kind comment you left me....what sweetness you share. And the gift of food, how wonderful is that? For we are in need of constant nourishment in many ways, and the slightest gesture of providing that which sustains us has got to be one of the mightiest and most honorable things anyone can do.

    Peace. Anita

  30. Hello Helen, you are a bit of an angel yourself! A great cause and a clever idea. Your painting looks beautiful, love Linda x