I recently met Carmela Hartman, the organizer of a truly special Friendsgiving initive designed to help a victim of the recent floods here in central Texas. I asked her about the true meaning of Friendsgiving…arthouse friendsgiving 18


“It is a gathering of good friends celebrating abundance and giving back to those in need.”

– Carmela Hartman


What made this such a meaningful event was the fact that it came to be in order to support a good friend’s family who had lost their house and most of their treasured belongings in the recent floods.


We’ve all awoken to our phones obnoxiously warning us about the “flash floods” or perhaps simply the downpour of rain and near by lighting strikes during  the spring like weather we have had this fall.  Not everyone gets to roll over, quiet their phone, and return to sleep.  Yanira Villegas and her family weren’t even allowed into their neighborhood after Friday’s rains and were boated in on Saturday to find over 4 feet of water in there house.  She grabbed what she could, and her family has since moved into her parent’s house, which is still is without AC and heat because of the floods.

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Once Carmela found out about her friend’s tragedy she put her expertise of being an event planner to use   “I am a person that just cannot sit back so I gathered all my good friends who own businesses and have a platform to help this event.  They all opened their hearts with no hesitations”  In just a few days the roster of friends ready to give included:


  • Estella Baytan, CEO of Magnus Innovations and Founder of 5 Point 5 Liters, non profit organization
  • Jennifer Frost, Owner of Arthouse Austin venue
  • Chef Edna, Owner of Eat Fabulously
  • Sam Gupta, President of Austin Children’s Academy
  • Dean Campbell, DC Productions
  • Jennifer Frost,  franchise owner of Hey Cupcakes
  • Rona Rougehearts, Graphic Artist and Owner of Rouge Hearts.com
  • Josh Smith , Owner of Double Dave’s Pizza, Owner
  • Chris Murphy, President, MFX Salons 


Within only one week, a truly meaningful Friendsgiving was held at the Arthouse in North Austin as guests gathered to feast for a great cause.  Donations were held for Yanira’s family, and canned goods were also collected for the Capitol City Food Bank.  The event was completed with a raffle drawing at the end!

“In everything give thanks.”

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Chef Edna and Cody: Creamy Butternut Soup, Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms,

Wild Salmon and Cucumber Canopy, Mini Beef Wellington with Mushroom and

Spinach, Polenta Squares with Pulled Philippine Pork Adobo, Roasted Brussels’

Sprouts and Curried Cauliflower

Sam’s Turkey and Mashed Potatoes

Carmela and Robert’s Chicken Adobo Slider

Maureen’s Green Apple and Endive Salad

Marsha and Johnny’s Cheddar cream corn casserole

Kayla and Alex ‘Spinach Artichoke Dip

Vicky and Dave’s Shrimp Asparagus Pasta

Amber’s Special Cranberry Sauce

Maribel’s Mexican Enchilada with Red Sauce

Sara and Josh’ Tasting of Double Dave’s Pizza

“Thanksgiving Pizza” (Pizza of the month specialty)

Estella’s Lobster Mac and Cheese

The Works, Supreme

Buffalo Chicken

Whole Wheat Classic Veggie

Pepperoni roll

Meat eater


Edna ‘s Mini Pumpkin Pie Bites and Mini Apple Pie Bites with Whipped Cream

Ravel and Andy, Tiff Treat Cookies

Jennifer’s Hey Cupcakes

Sandra’s Pumpkin Pie

Champagne, Wine, Tea, Water

The Austin community is a force to be reckoned with.  The spirit of Friends Giving can be witnessed year round.  It’s a beautiful testament to the heart beat of this city.


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About The Author

Courtney Pierce
Director of Photography

I'm a food and lifestyle photographer living and shooting in the great city of Austin!

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