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K.I.D.S. raises more than $800,000 at gala

Children's charity Kids in Distressed Situations raised more than $800,000 during its 27th annual gala, held Dec. 6 at Cipriani 42nd in New York City. The organization says its plans to donate a portion of the proceeds to help with relief efforts related to Superstorm Sandy.

Gymnast Jordyn Wieber, a gold medalist during the recent summer Olympic Games, was the special guest emcee at the event and spoke about the importance of never giving up hope while trying to reach a goal.

Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker delivered the keynote address and encouraged attendees to be "agents of change" as he discussed the importance and responsibility of people and organizations coming together to help others, adding that growing up in a supportive community played a key role in his life. Booker also accepted the K.I.D.S Agency Partner Award on behalf of Newark Now, an organization that provides services and programs to more than 15,000 needy families in the Newark area. Syndicated TV host Wendy Williams presented him with the award.

The K.I.D.S. Retailer of the Year Award went to the Army & Air Force Exchange Service. The Manufacturer of the Year Award was present to Kahn Lucas and was accepted by CEO Howard Kahn, a member of the K.I.D.S. board of directors' executive committee. As he accepted the award, a video showing Ethiopian children accepting dresses from Kahn Lucas was shown.

Carter Keithley, president of the Toy Industry Assn., accepted the Donor Partner Award on behalf of the Toy Industry Foundation.

"We are delighted to have an esteemed list of honorees and guests to help us achieve our goals and enable us to continue to help more children in need," said Kevin Burke, chairman of K.I.D.S.

Video footage and photos from the gala can be seen here.

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