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Biz players rally around kids charity

Benefit raises $115,000 for 'My Friend's Place'

For thousands of runaway kids, the streets of Hollywood are anything but paved with gold.

To help them get their lives back on track, My Friend’s Place, the Hollywood-based resource center for homeless youth, raised $115,000 at a lively benefit Saturday on the CBS lot in Studio City. The bash, which last year raised $65,000, included auctions of walk-on roles in “Ally McBeal” and “Caroline in the City”; a “Seinfeld” script signed by the cast; and a first-class dinner plate from “Titanic.”

Party revolved around a casino theme on the lot’s New York Street, with craps, blackjack and roulette (fake money, of course), a buffet, bands and dancing. Admission to the nonprofit event was $150, and about 600 people showed up.

My Friend’s Place, a decade old, helps about 100 kids a day — the youngest about 12 years old — providing food, clothing, referrals and other services.

“It’s not so much what we do,” said co-founder Steve LePore, “it’s what we encourage the kids to do.”

Actress Wendie Malick (“Just Shoot Me”) said she met LePore about eight years ago when he was making sandwiches for the kids out of his house.

“I’m so impressed with how far he’s taken the place,” Malick said. “He totally saw a need. His zeal is contagious.”

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