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9/24/2013 3:36:00 PM
SMA students host benefit dinner for Sisters Of The Road
St. Mary's Academy photo
Sophia and Elena DeLeonibus welcome guests to benefit dinner.
St. Mary's Academy photo
Sophia and Elena DeLeonibus welcome guests to benefit dinner.

It was a perfect summer evening for a dinner party, aside from a bit of rain. Strands of lights strung between trees and mellow tunes piped from speakers helped set the mood. The smell of gumbo and stuffed eggplant wafted from the open kitchen door.

Everything was ready for guests of the 11th annual Wolf From The Door charity dinner, orchestrated last month by twins and St. Mary’s Academy juniors Elena and Sophia DeLeonibus. Patrons pay suggested donations of $10 for adults and $5 for kids. Proceeds benefit Sisters Of The Road, an Old Town nonprofit offering low-cost meals to people who are homeless.

This year, the 16-year-old sisters and their parents, Gaetano DeLeonibus and Gina Greco, hosted approximately 125 patrons and raised $3,300 for Sisters Of The Road.

With assistance from a family friend, Ruth Carr, they started the venture in 2002 at age 5 as a response to the poverty and hunger they witnessed on the streets of Portland. Over the past 11 years of Wolf From The Door dinners, the twins have raised $14,300 for their favorite charity, which was cofounded by 1970 St. Mary’s Academy alumna Genevieve Nelson.

“It means a lot to our organization that these sweet girls host Wolf From The Door," says Brenda Morgan, Sisters Of The Road special events coordinator. "The funds generated go directly to the café."

Sisters of the Road serves about 250 meals each day.

Over the years, the girls have evolved their approach and recruited friends to join. This year’s volunteers included St. Mary’s juniors Caroline Ambrose, Caroline Cassinelli and Lucy O'Sullivan and sophomore Kate Patterson. Junior Abby Diess co-hosted the event.

Next year the DeLeonibus sisters will host their last Wolf From The Door dinner. Both girls leave for college in the fall of 2015, but they’re taking steps now to ensure that this annual event doesn’t end. They created a how-to PowerPoint presentation to enlist other young people to host similar benefits in the future.

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