Nationally renowned columnist and author Cal Thomas is the keynote speaker for the 17th annual "Once upon a time" dinner to benefit the Lifeline Family Center of Cape Coral.
The dinner is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27, at the McGregor Baptist Church, 3750 Colonial Blvd., in Fort Myers. Tickets are $70 per person or $400 for a table of eight. Various sponsorship opportunities also are available.
Thomas was the speaker for the first fundraising banquet and was invited back by Executive Director Kathy Miller, who is leaving the position this year. State Rep. Dane Eagle will serve as the emcee for the evening.
"We just want to raise awareness for the Lifeline Family Center," said Assistant Director Jenna Steffel.
The dinner is the largest fundraiser of the year for the center, which provides a residential program for young pregnant women in crisis with housing, educational and job training, counseling, parenting classes, child care and spiritual direction. The center receives no funding from the government.
"We have up to 12 girls in the home at any time," added Steffel. "In our 18 years, 132 girls have gone through our programs."
The center derives all of its funding strictly from the support of the community through private donations and two fundraising events during the year. The annual dinner raised $160,000 last year. The other fundraiser is a walk event in the fall. Guests at the dinner are asked to consider making a pledge for a one-time or monthly donation.
"Last year we were dangerously close to closing one of our two homes," said Miller. "Quality care for our moms and babies has a big price tag, and they are worth it. Our goal is that every young mother's 'once upon a time' story leads them to opportunities to create their own happily ever after."
Several of the young mothers currently residing at the center will share their stories about the benefits of the services they have received along with the support and impact the program has made on their lives.
Thomas is one of the nation's top syndicated columnists and author. His writings have appeared in book form and in more than 500 newspapers. He also can be heard with his appearances on more than 300 radio stations.
To become a sponsor or to purchase tickets to the benefit dinner, call Lifeline Family Center at 239-242-7238 or visit them online at www.lifelinefamilycenter.org.