Christmas came early this year for Safe Passage Inc.and several of the families it currently provides services for, thanks to the generous donations from 115 Ripley County-area businesses as well as the many participants and volunteers for the 2013 “Handbags for Hope” fundraiser.
The June 22 auction, hosted by Church on the Rock Women’s Ministry, was the first of its kind in this area. It featured 129 donated new or gently-used, themed purses, baskets and totes filled with theme-related items and services. Seventy-five people attended the full-day auction, placing silent bids and, ultimately, contributing toward the fundraiser, which raised $5,000.
The auction “proved to be remarkable. It was well planned and perfectly executed. It was positively amazing,” reports Donna Huffmaster, Safe Passage administrative assistant. “The food, auction items and presentation were wonderful. We are profoundly grateful to the Women’s Ministry of COTR for helping to support the mission of Safe Passage through this event.”
All proceeds were earmarked for a “Christmas in July” celebration for the women and children at Safe Passage. On July 13, six families were treated to a ride on the “Christmas Express” and greeted at the church with cookies and punch. They were served a buffet of home-cooked holiday culinary delights prepared by COTR women. Then they gathered in the church sanctuary to sing and hear the message of God’s love shared by Paula Flint, women’s ministry coordinator. Heather May, children’s ministry coordinator, also talked to the youngsters.
“Of the proceeds raised, $2,500 was used to purchase Christmas gifts that included much needed items, such as school supplies, clothing and other items for the hope of their starting over in a new home with a new beginning,” Flint said. “A $2,500 check also was given to Safe Passage for a donation to help sponsor the awesome service they provide.”