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Bags, Baubles and Bears — Oh my! Annual Jan Manolis Family Safe Center fundraiser planned Saturday

Posted: Monday, Mar 18th, 2013

Jan Manolis, right, director of the Jan Manolis Family Safe Center, and her assistant, Cindy Eckmann, stand by a small sampling of bags, scarves, bears and a beautifully dressed porcelain doll. Plans are to restyle the doll’s hair before she is sold at Saturday’s Bags, Baubles and Bears fundraiser at the Crossroads. In the next photo, a bear sits atop a table filled with purses and other items donated for the live and silent auction. PHOTOS BY CRYSTAL PUGSLEY/PLAINSMAN

Donations have been amazing for this year’s Bags, Baubles and Bears fundraiser for the Jan Manolis Family Safe Center, said director Jan Manolis.

The annual event, featuring a silent and live auction, will be held Saturday, March 23, at the Crossroads with doors opening at 5:30 p.m., supper at 6:30 p.m. and the live auction starting at 7 p.m.

“This year we’re going to start with a Chinese Fire Drill,” Manolis said. “We call off numbers and people rush up and take a gift off the table, and if you want someone else’s gift, you can take it.”

The Chinese Fire Drill will end once the live auction begins, she said.

“Most of our items this year are wonderful, wonderful things from local people,” Manolis said. “We have a lot.”

People have donated dozens of purses and bags, as well as beauty products, exquisite pieces of jewelry, hand-made scarves and many other items.

Many of these items are being used to create themed baskets and purses for the auction.

“Our advocates have been working really hard at putting things together,” Manolis said. “It’s just been really interesting. It’s a different variety this year.”

Advocates are volunteers who work with victims receiving assistance at the shelter.

This fundraiser is one of the main events the JMFSC holds each year to raise money to help those trying to escape domestic abuse.

They receive funding through grants and the Heartland Region United Way, but it’s the local donations that make the difference, Manolis said.

“Our best support comes from the local area,” Manolis said. “They have just been wonderful to us and we wouldn’t be here without all their caring and support.”

While the upcoming fundraiser promises to be fun and light-hearted, the reason these funds are so crucial is painfully clear to those who found solace and help through the Center over the past year.

In 2012 they provided shelter for 22 adult females, two adult males and 23 children. There were 224 adult shelter days, and 405 days for children in the shelter. The children’s shelter days are higher because each child in a family is counted individually, Manolis said.

They answered 65 hotline calls and assisted victims with issuing 13 protection orders.

“It’s kind of scary, if they don’t know the court process,” Manolis said. “We offer a lot of services, not just the shelter. “We offer counseling, transportation, food.

“We have the 24-hour hotline and we’ll also help with financial assistance,” she said. “We try to put them in touch with other agencies that can work with them — social agencies, food stamps, law enforcement. We would like people to know that.”

Manolis said the shelter has expanded to include a new home with four bedrooms and two baths. They’re planning to expand that to add another bedroom and bathroom.

Domestic violence occurs when one person causes physical or psychological harm to a current or former partner.

Domestic abuse is the leading cause of injury to women in the United States — a woman is beaten every 15 seconds.

Estimates of assaults on women by partners range from approximately 2 million to 4 million annually in the United States.

Besides the obvious physical injuries, domestic violence can lead to depression, anxiety, panic attacks, substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder. Abuse also might trigger suicide attempts or psychotic episodes.

The Jan Manolis Family Safe Center can be reached at 554-0398, and advocates can be reached day or night at 350-6663 or 350-6690.

For the complete article see the 03-17-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 03-17-2013 paper.

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