Gala benefits Genieve Shelter

Published 11:09 pm Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Genieve Shelter is hoping for plenty of support at its gala fundraiser this fall.

“We have had such an increased demand for services,” said James Gregory, development coordinator for the domestic violence shelter. “We’re really counting on the community to come together with us.”

The gala will be held Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn, 100 E. Constance Road. It will include dinner, entertainment by local band N-Tregue, a silent auction and more.

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This year’s theme is “A New Beginning,” referring to the new beginning that domestic violence victims receive after leaving their abusive relationships, executive director Mary Williams-Davis said.

The goal of the fundraiser is to raise $50,000, she said.

The Genieve Shelter provides services including emergency shelter, a 24-hour crisis hotline, food, clothing, household supplies, transportation, legal consultation, safety planning, employment and financial counseling, housing assistance, court accompaniment, children’s programs and more for victims.

In addition, funds raised also go toward community outreach and staff development to help the shelter do its job more effectively.

Founded in Smithfield in 1988 by a domestic violence survivor, the Genieve Shelter serves those in Suffolk, Franklin and Smithfield as well as Southampton, Isle of Wight and Surry counties. In fiscal year 2014, the shelter’s staff provided 4,129 nights of shelter to 150 individuals, including 69 adults and 81 children. Three families were accommodated in permanent housing units, 21 single adults and 48 families were provided emergency shelter, and 538 individuals were assisted through court contacts, counseling, medical and mental health services, support groups, children’s services, transportation and case management.

“It’s not just a Suffolk occasion,” Gregory said. “It’s very much a Western Tidewater community event.”

Silent auction items up for grabs will include QVC products, dining gift certificates and items from local merchants, Gregory said.

The event is planned for a Thursday night so that folks won’t “have to worry about driving into town on a Saturday,” Gregory said. It also may give them incentive to take Friday off, he joked.

“We are really hoping the community is going to come out to help us with this fundraiser,” he said. “If you’re going to donate to us, you may as well get some dinner and a couple of glasses of wine out of it.”

Williams-Davis said the gala also is a way to thank current donors. Sponsorships are also available for local businesses and philanthropists.

Tickets are $50. For tickets or more information, call 925-4365.