Informal gala benefits pro-life groups

Bernie Vogel plays the piano as part of the entertainment for the “It’s Black and White” event at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bettendorf. The event raised money for pro-life activities in the Quad-City area.

By Anne Marie Amacher

BETTENDORF — More than 180 people attended a pro-life dinner, silent auction and raffle fundraiser for life ministries in the Quad-City area on June 25.

The “It’s Black and White” event, held at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Center in Bettendorf, included supporters from both sides of the Mississippi River. Participants were asked to dress in black and white informal wear.

Charlene Merritt, organizer for the event, got the idea from a New York City gala that was reported in the National Right to Life newspaper. “I thought at the time — at least 10 years ago — that if it’s in New York City, why not the Quad Cities?”

Although this gala was small in comparison to New York’s gala, she sees it as a beginning. “We hope the idea catches on and each of our area parishes takes a leadership role as the years roll by. We need to celebrate in addition to (doing) the tedious work of standing on the front lines defending life ‘against all odds’ it seems sometimes. Those who are constantly ‘in the trenches’ need to know that the larger community supports what they are doing completely,” Merritt said.


The parish center was decorated with blue, black and white decorations and white Christmas lights. The main lights were dimmed in the center.

Julie Davenport of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport said, “This is very classy.” She attended the event with her husband and enjoyed the evening. Julie said it was good for Catholics to get together to celebrate life.

The menu featured baked potatoes, shrimp, fruit, vegetables, cheese and a fondue chocolate fountain.

Music played throughout the evening. Life’s Little Treasures provided an “Always Loved” boutique with items for sale from the Quad-City Right to Life-sponsored resale store in Davenport.

Bids were taken by silent auction on a variety of items including a weed eater, white china, plumbing gift certificates and gift baskets. Raffle prizes included his and her bicycles, framed artwork, a week vacation and wooden deck.

Proceeds will benefit Life and Family’s Women’s Choice Center, Quad City Right to Life, Helpers of God’s Precious Infants and the pro-life Ministries in the parishes in the Davenport Deanery, Merritt said.

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