Challenged at an early age by family members to help those less fortunate, the Haghighi brothers of Vista had vowed to always give back to their community whenever the opportunity arose.
Twin brothers Brian and Alan, 25, and their elder sibling, David, 29, made good on their promise at the inaugural “Have a Heart” fundraising event March 3 at California Fruit Wine Company, their Vista-based winemaking business.
The wine tasting benefited Solutions for Change, a Vista nonprofit that strives to solve homelessness in the North County.
“When we were just little guys, our family would always tell us to give back to our community whenever we could,” said Brian Haghighi, who was emcee and auctioneer for the program.
“It didn’t matter what it was that we could do. If we could help someone less fortunate than ourselves, then that’s what we would do.”
Nearly 30 area companies contributed goods or services for the silent auction at the event, which helped raise $2,300 for Solutions for Change.
Among the items was a VIP package to the upcoming Kia LPGA Golf Classic. Frank Mottola of Oceanside was high bidder for the tourney package that was valued at $600.
Among the 80 guests at the tasting were graphic designer Francie Droll and interior design specialist Cindi Audelo, both of Oceanside.
“This is a great way to help Solutions for Change,” said Droll. “It looks like everyone is having a good time, and the money they raise here tonight is going for a good cause.”
Added Audelo: “I can’t really think of a better cause than helping people get off the streets and get their lives turned around. This is a good thing for the community.”
Fine art broker Dawn Wessel of Oceanside attended at the suggestion of her friend Beverly Haney of Vista.
“This is a good way to help people who need a hand up, not a handout,” said Wessel, as she sampled one of the Haghighi Brothers’ offerings. “The people (Solutions for Change) are helping just need a chance to get back on their feet, and events like this will help them do that.”
Kate Werner, a marketing associate at Solutions for Change, said the entire program at California Fruit Wine was put together very quickly.
“Normally, we might spend a couple of months —- maybe more —- in organizing an event such as this,” Werner said. “Because of the total involvement of the Haghighi brothers in helping plan this, we were able to get whole event organized in just two weeks. That’s a pretty remarkable feat.”
Lisa Frost, an Internet and marketing specialist from Oceanside, helped in the event planning.
“We just started talking about doing something like this with the Haghighi brothers a short time ago,” Frost said. “They originally wanted to do this over the Valentine’s Day weekend, but it just didn’t work out. But they worked with the folks at Solutions for Change and we got this done in just a couple of weeks, which is pretty phenomenal if you ask me.”
Chris Megison, president of Solutions for Change, thanked the hosts and the attendees for their contributions in assisting his organization.
“We’re grateful for everything the Haghighi brothers and all the people here tonight are doing to keep Solutions for Change going, and to help us in helping homeless people in the North County,” Megison said.
“It’s events like this that help us keep going and help us to solve homelessness in our area. It’s a bigger challenge than a lot of people realize, but with folks like the Haghighi brothers, and all the people who contributed to this event tonight, we’re going to be able to keep working at helping people in our area.”
Some of those attending the wine-tasting included Carlsbad-based personal trainer Crystal Ellis, who donated two individual sessions to the cause; Web designer Eric Vasiliades of Oceanside, who helped in auctioning off several cakes; Roger and Karla Wilderotter; Meredith Silberg; Julia Mottola of Oceanside, who also helped organize the event, and artist Amada Fields of La Mesa, who donated an oil-on-canvas painting to the silent auction.