Federal Association Dames and friends from the DC, Montgomery County, Northern Virginia, and Syracuse regions gathered virtually at the invitation of Holy Family Hospital Foundation for its annual Mother-Daughter Friendship Tea on May 16. We remembered and honored Noreen Falcone, GCM, and posthumously awarded Noreen the Foundation’s Star of Bethlehem award for her lifetime of love, service and dedication to the mothers and babies of Bethlehem.
This year the event, renamed the Sip and See, hosted world-renowned Palestinian Chef Fadi Kattan to lead us in a cooking demonstration from Bethlehem on Zoom.
The afternoon began with smiles and waves as family and friends joined together. Kathryn Abell, Holy Family Hospital Foundation Board Member, welcomed the Falcone family and presented the Star of Bethlehem Award in honor of Noreen.
“Noreen’s gift for mothering and her love of children were evident in her involvement with Holy Family Hospital. Noreen and her husband Mike were among the founding board members of Holy Family Hospital Foundation. Their wise counsel guided the Foundation through its early years. In 2000, Noreen and Mike visited the hospital. Noreen fell in love with the tiny babies placed in her arms. She was struck by the selfless staff working with poor mothers so much in need.”
Ambassador Michele Bowe, President of Holy Family Hospital Foundation, provided an update on Holy Family Hospital and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Bethlehem. She highlighted the ways that the Neediest Baby Fund has provided stability and security for families with babies in the NICU during this time of economic hardship. Baby Samah, born 10 weeks early weighing just over one pound, stayed in the NICU for over 100 days. Thanks to the Neediest Baby Fund, her parents were not crippled by medical bills amidst the growing economic crisis and pandemic in Bethlehem.
Chef Fadi joined us from his kitchen teaching us to cook Maqloubeh, the traditional chicken and rice dish which is ceremoniously flipped unto a platter when it is ready! Chef Fadi shared stories of growing up in Bethlehem, visiting the local markets and reawakening the local culture of foraging for seasonal ingredients.
“This is the most emotional cooking experience I have had,” Chef Fadi stated, “because the Hospital means a lot to me. I was born there, and my late grandfather was one of the earlier Directors of the Hospital. What you have all been doing by supporting the Hospital is vital for the city of Bethlehem. The economy relies so heavily on pilgrimages and since March of last year, there has been no tourism. The dedication of the people at Holy Family Hospital really makes a difference in bolstering the community. The efforts of Holy Family Hospital Foundation keep the Hospital afloat during this crisis always making room for the tiniest babies and the most vulnerable women. Thank you all.”