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A Loving Choice Pregnancy Resource Center's annual fall banquet was an evening of inspiration and giving, plus beautiful music and -- yes -- fried chicken.
The event was held at Claudia Sanders Dinner House on Thursday evening. Guests scanned tables and placed their bids on 74 silent-auction items. There were karate classes and massages, Dairy Queen cakes and a Christmas wreath.
Three top-notch items: tickets to a UK-Georgia basketball game, a backside tour at Churchill Downs during Derby week and a week's stay in a Florida condo were sold to the highest bidder in lively fashion by auctioneer Allan Parnell to kick off the banquet.
Patrick Henry Hughes and his father, Patrick John, told stories of overcoming physical and emotional hardships to live life to its fullest.
The two share a keen sense of humor as well as musical talents. Hughes played the piano and sang "What a Wonderful World" and "Believe."
ALC Director Jan Antos said the evening exceeded her expectations. "So many little things went wrong before the event that I was worried. But as the day dawned, I really felt at peace, and that we would fix all the mistakes," she said. "We have more auction items than we've ever had. I just know this community, and they're generous givers."
ALC hoped to raise most of its $80,000 yearly operating budget through the banquet, auction and pledges. The Center pays only the Director and the Director's Assistant, while relying on 15 to 20 volunteers for additional help.
ALC provides emotional, spiritual and physical support for women and families dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. The organization has seen a 25 percent increase in clients in the last year.
"I just feel like God has his hand in this ministry, and he's going to see to it that we have what we need and continue to grow," Antos said.
All the services are free and open to anyone. Some of the services offered are pregnancy tests, baby and maternity supplies and parenting classes.
A full list of services and Center hours can be found at www.shelbypregnancycenter.com. ALC is located in Shelbyville at 25 Village Plaza.