Attendees of “Night of HOPE” crowded in shoulder-to-shoulder on Friday at Jackson Avenue Coffee (JAC) to show their support against domestic violence.
Dan Reible, owner of JAC, described the evening benefit of music and food as their busiest night of the year. He said the event has gained popularity throughout the years because people are eager to show their support for HOPE, which stands for Housing, Outreach, Prevention and Education.
“It’s a great event,” he said. “(HOPE) is working towards a great cause. They offer somewhere for people needing to get out of an abusive situation.”
Reible said while all regular food and drink items at JAC were offered, many attendees opted for the café’s bread bowls of either wild rice and chicken or broccoli and cheese soup because all proceeds went towards HOPE.
Bands Motherlode, Reverend Robert and Some of Us provided live music. Poetry group Speak Easy also performed at the event.
In addition to the funds raised from the bread bowls, a silent auction was sponsored, with items donated from local artists and businesses. Raffle tickets were sold for a blown glass vase made by Randy Turner, of Paris.
Angie Hunt, housing and program director of HOPE, said the event originated seven years ago out of a need for a fundraiser, but also a way to kick off Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“It’s about funds, but also about raising awareness and coming together,” she said.
Hunt said she enjoys not only seeing people come out to support the event every year, but also entertainment and joy it brings attendees.
“The community and people of all ages come together and have the best time,” she said.
Pauline Kade, a HOPE volunteer and event committee member, said although Night of HOPE is now in its seventh year, and it has only grown and gained extensive support from community members throughout the years.
“We get a broad base of the community, not just one section,” she said. “It’s good that everyone in the community comes out to support (Night of HOPE).”
Hunt said the event remains relevant every year because the issue of domestic violence has not disappeared and continues to need support shown against it.
“Domestic violence can happen to anyone,” she said. ‘We need to come together to help it stop from happening.”
Shanna House, of Gayes, said she came to show her support for the cause because, as a teacher, she frequently sees the effects of domestic violence on others at her job.
“I see family and students affected by domestic violence,” she said. “It’s close to my heart. I like to support HOPE because it’s nice for people to have a safe shelter to go to and get help.”
Damiya Perkins, a senior family and consumer sciences major, said she attended the event because she supports fighting domestic violence, a cause she said is often misunderstood and needs to be stopped.
“People don’t understand the domestic violence factor. It affects both families and people’s lives,” she said. “Coming to this helps people understand the meaning of helping out.”
Reible said overall, Night of HOPE attendees were proud to show their support and were appreciative of the one-night event against domestic violence.
“We’ve had people thanking us all week for putting on this event,” he said. “We’re proud to be part and help what we do helps even the slightest.”
For more information on HOPE, visit http://www.hope-eci.org.
Sara Hall can be reached at 581-7942 or email@example.com.