St. Jude House asked the community to “Stand UP” for victims of domestic violence. On Friday evening at Villa Cesare, Crown Point’s 40-bed shelter (since February) hosted its largest annual fundraiser, but this year, they incorporated a variety show. Tomfoolery Fun Club teamed up with St. Jude House to show comedians Gwen LaRoka, Mickey Housley, and Colleen Brennan, as well as jazz saxophonist Reggie Foster, Jr. accompanied by a band.
“I’m a baby-boomer and I remember growing up watching variety shows,”said Linda Kiger, St. Jude House Board of Directors Member and Co-chair of the Development Committee. “I am excited for the new format, tonight.”
Kiger relished the new entertainment, working with new Director, Ryan Elinkowski, and appreciated the new faces in the crowd. Most of the table she was sitting at were first time attendees of a St. Jude House fundraiser. For Kiger, the evening may be an annual event, but this year's event made her even more excited for their upcoming 25th anniversary next year. The fresh momentum of their cause will help them further their ability to assist families in need.
“Sometimes our clients leave their house with nothing but the clothes on their backs,” Kiger said. “When they arrive to our facility we have everything they need. They never have to look back; they can focus on looking forward. It’s events like this that make that possible.”
Tickets sales for the evening go towards St. Jude House, and there were other ways guests could show their support such as a wine pull, raffle baskets, and a paddle raise. The outpouring of support proved the community’s commitment to St. Jude House.
Ryan Elinkowski, Director of St. Jude House, said it takes an ‘army’ to keep operations running, and the families that benefit from their services are worth the investment.
“Our supporters, staff, board of directors, and development committee, pour love into our mission,” said Ryan Elinkowski, Director of St. Jude House. “When you don’t charge anything for services, we are fortunate to have so many people who believe in our mission and keep us going.”
Becky Seim, Mary Kay Foundation Ambassador, who penned a successful $20,000 Mary Kay Foundation grant to benefit St. Jude House, said she was excited to pull into the parking lot and see that it was full of cars. This shows Seim that many people care, but that does not mean it is an easy conversation.
“No one wants to talk about domestic violence because it makes us sad,” Seim said. “It’s nice to be able to come out for a night of joy and fun and still be able to support St. Jude House.”
Seim lost a close friend to domestic violence. The friend had received services from St. Jude House on two occasions, and this planted a fire within Seim to spread awareness and take action.
If you would like to help take action for victims of domestic violence, visit their website at visit stjudehouse.org.