The Red Shoe Lunch (RSL) is an annual event started in Atlanta, Georgia in 2010. Our event is attended by both women and men and while most people wear red shoes, you are not required to do so. This annual event is hosted in various locations throughout metro Atlanta and the attire is business casual.
RSL is held each year on the last Saturday of February. This is a fun, heart warming and informational fundraising event. We creatively raise funds with an exciting raffle that is typically a highlight of the afternoon!
In previous years 100% of the proceeds were donated to the American Heart Association in memory of Veronica Blount. We've raised nearly $20,000 for AHA. The Veronica Blount Memorial Page is still active on the AHA website and supporters are encouraged to donate; however, our primary focus going forward is to support the newly established Veronica Blount Memorial Foundation. Through our yearly fundraising efforts, we will include an annual giving campaign to continue our support of the American Heart Association.
VBMF's (Veronica Blount Memorial Foundation) focus is to educate women and men in underprivileged and underserved communities about heart disease. The Red Shoe Lunch is VBMF's annual flagship event.
Tee Blount, Founder | Red Shoe Lunch
How it Started...
It’s been said that the ones who are actually crazy enough to think they can change the world, are actually the ones that do. Fourteen years ago on a Saturday afternoon, six women gathered for lunch at a trendy Atlanta restaurant at Phipps Plaza. While their mission wasn’t to change the world, that day would change them and ultimately many people in the world around them!
The women stood out, not by what they said or did, but by what they wore. Each woman who sat at the table wore a pair of red shoes; high, low, sling-back or peep-toe. These woman wore shoes that represented their style. As much as the shoes stood out by those who gave a quick glance as they passed by or those inquisitive enough to stop and ask; the shoes represented much more than a collaborated fashion statement.
At the table was 36 year old Tee Blount. Tee was the one who organized the lunch with her friends. What the onlookers didn’t know was a few days prior to that lunch, Tee was on an operating room table about to undergo a cardiac catheterization. It was in that moment on the table, that Tee heard one nurse say to another nurse “wow, she’s young”. It was the same phrase Tee heard from a nurse thirteen years prior, outside of a hospital operating room in Baltimore, Maryland. The 44 year old that was about to undergo a quadruple bypass in Baltimore was Veronica Blount, Tee’s mother.
In that Atlanta hospital in 2010 when Tee heard the same thing being said about her that she heard said about her mother so many years prior, she decided to fight! You see, Veronica’s first quadruple bypass wasn’t successful so she had to undergo a second. The second bypass seemed to be working and just as Veronica settled back into her routine activities, she died from coronary artery disease, she was just 46 years old.
Tee wasn’t sure what her outcome would be, but as she closed her eyes in that operating room, she knew if God gave her an opportunity to wake up, that she would make every moment count and she would do something to raise awareness about this silent lady killer. Tee was from a family of women who all died young. In fact, every woman as far back as she could remember, died younger than their mother. Veronica’s mother, Delores was barely 50 years old when she died.
Once released from the hospital in February 2010, Tee called her closest friends and asked them to join her for lunch to celebrate what would have been her mother, Veronica’s 56th birthday. Ten years after her mother’s death, Tee would find herself facing her own heart health problems, but with the support of her friends, she would turn her situation into a learning opportunity, not just for herself, but for everyone she knew.
Tee asked the women to wear red shoes to the lunch for heart month and in memory of her mother. The ladies passed around an iPad and made donations to the American Heart Association in memory of Veronica Blount. After learning why the ladies were lunching, the restaurant’s manager generously moved them into a private dining room at no charge. It was in that room Tee decided to have a lunch every year.
Those six ladies gathered for a lunch to show support and to make a difference. On the last Saturday of February every year since 2010, men and women have gathered for a lunch to do the same. Those six ladies are now a group of roughly 200 people (and growing) who attend what is now called, the Red Shoe Lunch. The majority of the guests attend every year and while the location changes to a new location around the metro-Atlanta area, the mission has remained the same… raise awareness about heart disease and collectively work together to educate the communities in which they live.
From 2010 through 2022, guests of the lunch were asked to make donations directly to the American Heart Association. In August 2022, The Veronica Blount Memorial Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization was formed. The Veronica Blount Memorial Foundation will host the Red Shoe Lunch annually on the last Saturday of February. The 14th Annual Red Shoe Lunch will take place on Saturday, February 24, 2024 at Cherokee Town Club in Atlanta, Georgia. The primary fundraising goal is to make sure every home has a blood pressure monitor. Just like a smoke detector, blood pressure monitors aide in prevention and save lives. While these Atlanta women didn’t necessarily change the world (yet), they are crazy enough to think they can!