MANATEE -- A local church is planning a gala drawing on the glamour of Hollywood as a fundraiser for youth enrichment programs.
Ward Temple African Methodist Episcopal will present “A Night of Red Carpet Elegance” on May 28 in a joint effort to celebrate prominent local women and to provide a fashion show, dinner and live music during a black-tie night out.
Among those to be recognized are five honorees for “The Ebony Excellence Award,” along with a fashion show featuring the Women of Distinction Models.
“This fundraiser is the first time we have had our Women’s Day activities fold into funding for summer community enrichment,” said the Rev. James T. Golden, pastor of Ward Temple A.M.E. Church, 1017 5th St. W., Bradenton.
“We thought it would be great to have an environment that was upscale, but also wanted to recognize excellence in women in the community,” he said. “We are hoping we do justice to five women this year.”
Among the honorees are Ann Broomes, principal, G.D. Rogers Garden Elementary School; Lillian Elliott, senior manager of manufacturing quality at Tropicana Products Inc.; Shirley Pearson, program director, Strength In Action Inc.; Faye Butler, owner, Unique Realty LLC; and the the Rev. Bertha Lovely, pastor at Christian Fellowship Temple.
Special recognition will go to DiDi Coleman of Beall’s Department Store, which is providing gowns and tuxes for the fashion show, along with Memory Makers, a Bradenton formal wear store, according to Teak Senior, who is in charge of the fashion show.
“We want them to come and walk the red carpet,” she said. “A lot of times, we don’t get a chance to dress up, so we’re bringing that Hollywood glamour to Florida.
“That’s what the evening is about, the Hollywood glamour of the Oscars,” she said. “We’ll be walking the red carpet, being interviewed out front, just like the Oscars.”
The “Women of Distinction Models” will include Deborah Thomas, Johncyna McRae, Sandra Holley, Candice Clark, Lynda Melnick and Robin Orth, according to the church.
The gala is slated for 7 p.m. at The Renaissance on 9th, 1816 9th St. W., with tickets costing $50 each and $400 for a table of eight. For information, call (941) 747-8288.
The gala will benefit two youth programs, the Summer Community Outreach Program of Enrichment, and the Prodigy program, Golden said.
The outreach program serves up to 75 students over eight weeks of summer, said Golden.
Children 7-17 years old are eligible. The program provides cultural, social and academic enrichment, he said.
The gala also will help an after-school program called Prodigy, which budget cuts have deprived of 40 percent of its $200,000 annual budget, Golden said.
“It’s a cultural arts program we run after school in partnership with the Department of Juvenile Justice,” he said.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7031.