Caloosa Belle/Val White
Doug Morgan was the auctioneer at the gala with Rachel Pierce of NBC2 News Today, master of Ceremonies for the Silent No More Gala to benefit ACT. (Caloosa Belle/Val White)
On Saturday, December 2, ACT (Abuse Counseling & Treatment, Inc.) hosted its first ‘Silent No More Gala’ at the new Oak Grove RV park in LaBelle. ACT is a private, not-for-profit agency committed to serving victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. The evening began with a cocktail hour; ‘The Walker Experience’ band entertained the guests as they arrived and perused the silent auction tables which were filled with a vast array of goods ranging from relaxing spa day gift certificates, baskets full of your favorite spirits, gift certificates from all of our local restaurants, beautiful framed photographs, stunning hand painted t-shirts and even a hand gun (to name only a few), all of which was donated by local businesses and artists to help raise money for the organization which provides emergency shelter, 24 hour crisis hotline, one-on-one counseling, advocacy, support groups, rape crisis center, outreach counseling, batterer’s intervention groups, children’s programs, community and professional education and awareness, and information and referrals to those seeking assistance in other matters. After everyone had a chance to make their initial bids the Master of Ceremonies, Rachel Pierce from NBC2 News Today called everyone to take their seats as the Founder of SOZO Recovery House, Robin Bright, led an invocation. A beautiful and delicious dinner of champagne chicken, ham, green beans, and mashed potatoes was catered by Econo Catering (econocatering.com) and the band took to the stage once more while the guests made their way through the dinner buffet. After the dinner there were three speakers who shared their stories and experiences with ACT. The stories were moving, heartfelt, and emotional and, because of the very delicate subject matter of the evenings stories, I won’t be going into detail other than to say that the counselors and supervisors at ACT are doing amazing, and truly heroic work to oftentimes save the lives of the brave individuals who suffer abuse and domestic violence. After the crowd was offered a tiny glimpse into the very worthwhile work that the organization is doing, it was time for the live auction with Doug Morgan acting as auctioneer. Among the items were a trip for two to New Orleans, and a trip for two to Canada, a private catered dinner for up to ten people by Chef Samuel Edwards, a beautiful painting by local artist Tracy Langford, a lovely portrait by Sofia Valiente, and a personal size cake by Pookie’s Sweets and Treats. All in all the event was a success in raising some money and awareness to the organization who endeavors to work hand in hand with law enforcement, mental health services, medical professionals, and the judicial system in providing assistance and educations to victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault. ACT is a social service agency that aims for well balanced funding sources including grants, endowments and donations. If you would like to find out how you can help or make any monetary donations you can call 239-939-2553 or visit actabuse.com.