Mardi Gras Casino Night and Auction raises money for Parent-Child Center

February 18, 2012|By DON AINES |
  • Kenny Churchey, left, was dealing cards to St. Joseph Catholic Church member Matt Semler, center, and his friend Brian Kelly Saturday night during the church's Mardi Gras Casino Night and Auction.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

The wheel of fortune clacked slowly to a stop at a triple two, with one of the four women at the table winning a small stack of cash featuring the face of Father Chris Moore.

Saturday was the 10th annual Mardi Gras Casino Night and Auction at St. Joseph Catholic Church. About 150 people ponied up $25 apiece for a chance to win some funny money, wine and dine, and help both the parish and the Parent-Child Center.

“We mostly make money on the tickets, raffles and the two auctions,” Moore said as guests settled down to a dinner buffet prepared by chef Bob Vidoni. Moore advised guests that the silent auction was for real money only, while some of the bogus gaming cash could be applied toward some live auction items.

“We net about $10,000, with $2,500 going to the Parent-Child Center,” said chairwoman Marguerite Lesky, whose face also adorned some of the gaming bucks. In the previous nine Mardi Gras Casino Nights, $87,000 has been raised for the parish and more than $20,000 for the Parent-Child Center, she said.

The nonprofit Parent-Child Center’s mission is the prevention of child abuse through parenting classes and other programs.

“The Parent-Child Center is a nonprofit, and anyone in the community can use their services,” said Kenny Churchey, a member of the Alsatia Club in Hagerstown, who this night was dealing blackjack for a good cause.

High rollers for the live auction could bid on Pittsburgh Steelers and Penguins packages, and even two weeks at the Royal Aloha Vacation Club in Honolulu.

“I’m Vanna White for the second year in a row,” Mary Shumaker said. She explained that she has been with the Mardi Gras Committee for four years and now gets to show off the wares being auctioned.

“I’m always up for a party,” Shumaker said.

“Not only the congregation, but the community has come out to support us,” Dolores Vidoni said as she collected tickets. Exchange Club members set up the gaming tables for the wheel of fortune, blackjack and other games, she said.

Despite the state of the economy, Vidoni said she was pleased to see people come out to have fun and raise money for both the church and the Parent-Child Center.

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