Palm Beach Habilitation Center to decide in Sept. whether to keep luncheon at Mar-a-Lago

1:26 p.m Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017 Local
President Donald Trump speaks to the friends and supporters of the Palm Beach Habilitation Center on Feb. 20, 2017. The president made a surprise stop at the Hab Center auxiliary’s annual Hab-a-Hearts Luncheon at The Mar-a-Lago Club. Contributed photo

As dozens of charities continue to cut ties with President Donald Trump and his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, at least one organization has yet to decide whether to abandon its event there this season.

The Palm Beach Habilitation Center is still deciding whether to keep its annual Hab-a-Hearts luncheon March 4 at Mar-a-Lago.

See our updated list of who’s leaving, staying at Mar-a-Lago.

CEO David Lin said the board plans to meet the first week of September to discuss the matter.

“We are still undecided at this time,” he said Wednesday. “We had a committee meeting this week, but we want to have a meeting with the members of the auxiliary to give them the opportunity to express their opinion.”

Over the past several days, 23 charities have announced plans to leave Mar-a-Lago. Three organizations have committed to keeping their events at the club in the upcoming season.

In an abrupt shift, the Bethesda Health Foundation announced today that it would pull its Nov. 9 Women of Grace luncheon from the club and move to the Boca Raton Resort. Hospital representatives had said a day earlier that the event would stay put.

> DONALD TRUMP IN PALM BEACH: Latest news, photos, videos

Lin said he’s received numerous emails and messages the past several days from people on both sides of the issue.

“Some are expressing a strong desire to go and others a strong desire to stay,” he said. “But really what we’re trying to do is maintain the focus on the mission of the agency more so than on the politics of what’s going on right now. The main purpose of the luncheon is to raise funds for persons with disabilities to provide them with the best service and support to live and work in this community.”

Many people on social media have weighed in on the debate.

“Please, what you do is so important— I hope you will move your event from Mar-a-Lago, a venue that stands for so much that is counter to what you stand for…” a woman posted Monday on the center’s Facebook page.

More than 350 guests attended the sold out luncheon on Feb. 20, including Trump.

“A highlight marking President’s Day is when the President of the United States Donald J. Trump entered the ballroom to a cheering crowd truly embodying the spirit of this patriotic holiday!” the center said in a news release following the event.

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