Life and Arts

On the Town: Cabrini Literary Guild brings Moroccan atmosphere, flavor to casino fundraiser

First at the blackjack table for “Casino de Marrakech” were, from left, dealer Lora Kirby, Heather Ghermezian and her daughter Paula Ghermezian.
(Ruth Sowby Rands)

The theme of the annual Cabrini Literary Guild fundraiser was strictly Moroccan, with a “Casino de Marrakech” twist.

On a sunny afternoon March 7, the Oakmont Country Club was turned into a casino for a day. There were even a scattered few women out of the 100 or so present who dressed in Moroccan-style attire.

The 11 a.m. start allowed for plenty of time to check in and mingle.

Also, during the social hour, business was brisk to purchase raffle drawing tickets to be dropped into the raffle gift baskets of choice.


One basket offered the services of past president “Mme.” Marie Urrutia. She would teach a two-hour French lesson to the lucky winner. Each hour was worth $60. A fluent French speaker, Urrutia has been teaching French for many years.

Bidding was also hot and heavy over a chocolate basket filled to the brim with ribbon-topped boxes of fancy chocolates. There were also plenty of chocolate bars and tubs of hot chocolate mix.

The raffle gift baskets were open throughout the afternoon.

Silent-auction items were also available for bidding. Popular were two money “trees” laden with gift certificates.


After the social hour, Brenda Lantieri, guild president, welcomed members and guests. Busy woman about town Mercy Velazquez was the guest of two members, Monica Sierra and Miryam Finkelberg — also active community volunteers.

Lantieri then recognized by Rosa Hohman, fundraising chair.

A live auction was held after a lunch of Moroccan spiced beef kabobs. Non-carnivores enjoyed vegetable kabobs. Dessert was bread pudding with vanilla Grand Marnier sauce.

Casino games followed the auction. The blackjack table was the busiest. Mother and daughter Heather and Paula Ghermezian were first at the table manned by pro dealer Lora Kirby. Wins gave more raffle drawing tickets.

Winners of the raffle gift baskets and silent auction were announced as the ever-successful event came to an end.

Since its beginning in 1943, the Cabrini Literary Guild continues its community support with its original mission: first, to provide grants to Archdiocesan high school students through an annual creative-writing contest. And second, to help other deserving nonprofit organizations within the community by supporting worthwhile programs with annual philanthropic grants. Those grants are earmarked for the Glendale Public Library’s adult literacy program, the Glendale YWCA’s domestic violence shelter, Ascencia’s homeless shelter and Catholic Charities’ Loaves and Fishes program.

Luncheon proceeds will help fund these Cabrini-supported programs.

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