Last year around this time we called attention to a Lee County charity with a unique mission.
We'd like to do so again as Lifeline Family Center gears up for one of its two primary fundraisers and a whole new initiative.
The wholly donor-funded center, which provides "educational training, job training, professional counseling, parenting classes, and spiritual direction" to young women 16-22 who choose to keep their babies following an unplanned pregnancy, will host its Courage to Dream Big Benefit Dinner on March 30.
This year's event will feature motivational speaker David A.R. White, the producer and actor in "God's Not Dead" and "God's Not Dead 2."
It also will help spur the center towards a new project component - helping single moms completing its two-year program with housing needs as they move out on their own.
Lifeline has begun a capital campaign to build four two-bedroom duplexes as, even with the job preparation the center requires of its participants, high rent costs have made it difficult to find affordable housing.
Short term, the center is looking forward to breaking ground in April; long term organizers are hoping to become Habitat qualified.
It's a good cause with a proven track record with more than 150 women - and children - served to date. Another 6,000-plus have been helped through its Outreach Ministry program, which provides assistance with material needs, adoption counseling and resource referrals.
In addition to being a fundraiser, the annual dinner is also a celebratory night out that typically draws both a good crowd and an interesting name or two to highlight the evening. A couple of years ago that "name" was nationally renowned columnist and author Cal Thomas, who served as keynote speaker. Last year it was award-winning Christian musician Steve Green.
An estimated 600 community leaders, center supporters and music lovers are expected to attend the benefit to be held at McGregor Baptist Church on Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers this year.
Tickets are $70 each or $400 for a table of eight. For those who would like to do more, sponsorships, which include a VIP reception with White, are available starting at $1,000 to $10,000.
Those attending - or not - also can pledge a monthly or one-time donation, always welcome as Lifeline Family Center is wholly funded through private donations and its two fundraising events each year.
Tickets may be purchased at lifelinefamilycenter.org/benefitdinner or by calling 239-242-7238.
Donations may be made at lifelinefamilycenter.org/donate/ . Cash, of course, is always welcome - and sorely needed - but the center also has a "wish list" for everyday items, such as diapers, detergent, baby bathtubs and bassinets; special needs, such as a camera; and practical goods, such as copy paper, toner cartridges and rolls of postage stamps.
Visit online at: lifelinefamilycenter.org/donate/ if you can help.
- Citizen editorial