‘Evening with HAVEN’ planned April 4

Pictured, from left, are Heather Benton, HAVEN executive assistant/volunteer coordinator, Chris Hance of Cousin’s Restaurant and Saloon, Jorge Barragan of Casa El Mirador, Juan De La Cruz Garcia of Clock Tower Ales, Bill and Connie Ford of Zim’s Brau Haus, and Tammy Huffman from The Baldwin Saloon. Not pictured are representatives of Cobblestone Catering, the Hi-way House and Cowboy Catering.

“An Evening with HAVEN,” the annual major fundraiser for HAVEN from Domestic and Sexual Violence, is set for Thursday, April 4 starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center.

The fundraiser takes on added urgency this year because the organization took an unexpected cut to one of its revenue streams, said HAVEN’s executive director, Tara Koch.

The fundraiser is in its 19th year, and the organization is in its 38th year. Last year HAVEN had a $15,000 donation specific to the event, and the event itself raised $45,000, making it the largest amount the event has raised.

Koch hopes to raise somewhere between $45,000 and $60,000 this year. Tickets are $35 apiece and are available at the door or Klindt’s Booksellers, 315 E. 2nd St.

Doors open with hors d ‘oeuvres provided by Cobblestone Catering and beer and wine for sale. Live and silent auction items will be available for bid, as will a chance auction, where participants buy tickets to put into pots for certain prizes, in hopes of being a winner.

Auction items include dinners and paddle board excursions, a two-night stay in Sumpter, Ore., and two Timbers tickets and two Thorns tickets at executive seating level. Dinner starts at 6 p.m. and features food by a variety of local restaurants, including Cousin’s Restaurant and Saloon, Casa El Mirador, Cobblestone Catering, the Hi-Way House, Cowboy Catering, Clock Tower Ales, Zim’s Brau Haus, and The Baldwin Saloon.

Food will include BBQ ribs, soup with homemade bread, Caesar salad, grilled quesadillas and pinwheels.

Beer is donated by Thunder Island Brewing & Backwoods Brewing.

Music will be provided by Willie and Nelson.

The evening’s speaker will be a survivor who will share her testimony, Koch said. She said the fundraiser has a huge impact on the organization’s ability to carry out its mission and meet the basic needs of survivors.

A significant amount of HAVEN’s funds are restricted to certain areas, meaning they don’t cover administrative and overhead costs.

The entity can only meet its current capacity through fundraising and obtaining “very competitive” grants, she said. Meanwhile, there is an increasing demand for services to survivors of domestic/dating and sexual violence, as well as stalking and trafficking, and funding hasn’t kept up with service demand.

It is especially challenging in rural or frontier counties, where it may take a caseworker hours of drive time to reach a survivor. “It’s an all-day sort of event to provide those services, and we value the individuals that need our services, so we will mobilize and meet them where they’re at,” Koch said.

HAVEN serves Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, Wheeler and Gilliam counties.

“In rural and frontier communities we don’t have the luxury of cultural-specific services, so HAVEN becomes the referral agency to many individuals beyond our capacity,” Koch said.

“HAVEN’s federal and state funding are always at high risk of being cut. For example, a state contract through re-allocations efforts is being cut. Fundraising efforts can help to fill the gap, which would otherwise significantly jeopardize partnerships and services come July 2019.”

She said, “These cuts would only create more victims in unsafe situations. ‘An Evening with HAVEN’s fundraising efforts also help stabilize our services and keep our doors open.”

“The funding also allows HAVEN to go beyond the crisis, providing sustainability of these efforts and goals.  These fundraising efforts not only help HAVEN change lives, it helps us save lives,” Koch said.

She said of sexual abuse advocates, “the need and request for services is just exponential.”

HAVEN has 15 current staff and will be hiring two people to fill vacancies and two more people for two new positions.

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