By: Haylie Smart | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: October 2023
Cari Bohannan, left, is the Festival of Trees Committee Chair, and Jody Moore, right, is the Executive Director of Safenet Services.
According to Domestic Abuse Shelter Inc., about 4,000 women in the U.S. die each year due to domestic violence. Seventy-five percent of those women died while either actively trying to leave their abuser, or shortly after they escaped. After losing her own mother in 2006 to domestic abuse, Cari Bohannan, owner of The District on Main in Claremore, joined the Festival of Trees committee to help Safenet Services of Rogers and Mayes County offer shelter and hope for abused women.
“I’ve been chairwoman for the last two years, but have been involved with Festival of Trees since 2007,” Bohannan said.
Executive Director of Safenet Services Jody Moore said the funds raised at Festival of Trees will go towards unrestricted dollars.
“We primarily operate on state and federal grants. Fifty-eight percent of our budget comes from there, and it’s very restrictive on what we can pay for with that. It usually goes to salaries.”
But with help from their biggest fundraiser for the operating budget, Moore said the money will aid in things like the electricity bill, food, and some salaries that are not covered by grants, such as the resident advocates who directly work in the shelter. Safenet Services is certified through the Office of the Attorney General and is a United Way Agency.
“Any time there is a gap in something not being able to be funded by a grant, the general operating budget will come in and offset that cost,” she said.
Everything provided to Safenet Services’ clients is free of charge, such as living in the shelter, receiving empowerment education, counseling services, and assault prevention, and having supervised visitation. Because Safenet does not sell anything, all funding to be able to operate is gained through grants, fundraisers, and their volunteer and employee operated resale boutiques Secondhand Impressions.
This year’s Festival of Trees event will have a live auction of decorated trees ranging from 5 ft. to 9 ft., a silent auction of gifts donated by local businesses, such as a 4-hour guided fishing tour and a raindrop technique massage, and an elegant dinner prepared by the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
There are many opportunities for sponsorship, and if interested in sponsoring, or purchasing an individual ticket, go to https://safenetservices.org/fotsafenet.
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