By Michelle Williams
Beacon of Hope Center for Women is hosting its eighth annual Handbags for Hope Fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 14. The event will take place at The Ritz Charles, 12156 N. Meridian St., and will feature a live and silent purse auction with WTHR meteorologist Chuck Lofton as emcee. Proceeds will benefit victims of domestic violence served through Beacon of Hope.
Local male celebrities including Eric Halvorson, Sherman Burdette, Alan Bacon, Andre Crayton and Mike “Smitty” Smith have volunteered to model the purses.
“At the beginning they’re sort of stiff, and then they start really having fun with it. They add a lot to it,” said Leah Seigel, a Beacon of Hope board member.
Handbags have been donated by notable area residents including Beth Vaughn, Naomi Pescovitz, Lori Wilson, Debby Knox and Emily Longnecker. Each bag is filled with surprise extras such as fashion accessories, fine chocolate and small electronics.
“This year we’re adding the Man Cave, which will have silent auction items that are more man-friendly,” Seigel said. Also new this year is Lilly’s Corner, featuring the Lilly’s Lighthouse Foster Pet Program — the only of its kind in central Indiana. Domestic violence victims may use the program to place their pets in safe and temporary foster homes during the transition.
“Nationally 50 percent of domestic violence victims report that their abuser showed violence towards their pet, usually in the presence of the victim or children,” Seigel said. “Two out of five say the reason they don’t leave is because they are concerned about the safety of their animal.”
Seigel said that calls to the center are up 200 percent this year and hopes that the increase is due to lessened stigma attached to seeking help.
“There is a huge need,” she said. “One in four women will be a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime.”
To donate or register for the event, visit beaconofhopeindy.org.