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St. Joseph Parish lets the good times roll - for a good cause

February 03, 2008|By MARIE GILBERT

HALFWAY -- It looked and sounded like Mardi Gras, with music, revelers, and green and purple beads.

But this wasn't New Orleans. It was the Parish Center at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Halfway.

About 150 people attended the sixth annual Mardi Gras Casino Night & Auction on Saturday to raise funds for The Parent-Child Center and the church's Building and Expansion Fund.

The pre-Lenten celebration included a gourmet buffet, games, and a silent and live auction of merchandise donated by local businesses and parishioners.

"It's become a tradition," event chairwoman Marguerite Lesky said. "We've been doing this for the past six years, and it's always held on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday."

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Lesky said committee members began planning the event in November and had to work at a faster pace than usual with Lent coming early this year.

"But we've been doing this so long, everybody knew their job," she said. "The committee volunteers deserve credit for the evening's success."

Lesky said organizers were hoping to raise $10,000 from the event.

"We very much appreciate being a part of this fundraiser," said Millie Lowman, executive director of The Parent-Child Center.

The money will be used to help provide free services to families regarding the prevention of child abuse, she said. It also will be used to buy diapers and baby formula for program participants.

"An event like this is very important to us," Lowman said. "It helps us to keep our doors open and will benefit so many people in our community."

"It's a fun evening," said Vince Dellaposta, a member of The Parent-Child Center's board of directors. "But tonight is also about people's generosity and their willingness to help others."

Among those attending the fundraiser was Rick Love of Hagerstown.

"I'm here to help the church and The Parent-Child Center," he said. "And at the same time, it's an opportunity to have a little fun."

This was the first year Love and his wife attended the fundraiser.

"But I would definitely do this again," he said. "There's plenty to eat, lots of good company. It's a great evening."

Jennifer Lucas said she was invited to the event by a friend and was glad she accepted.

"The dessert table alone was worth it," she said. "I can indulge a little tonight because I'm giving up sweets for Lent."

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