Wicked Local Mansfield Reports:
Church Men’s Group raising funds for HUGS II
By Rachel Bolden
Thu Jan 29, 2009, 12:55 PM EST
Easton - Each year the men of the Congregational Covenant Church in Easton raise funds to fight violence against women.
On Friday, Feb. 6, the church’s Men’s Group hosts its annual Flavors of the World charity dinner dance at the Thorny Lea Golf Club in Brockton from 7 p.m. to midnight. Proceeds will benefit Help Us Get Safe (HUGS) II and the Womansplace Crisis Center, both local nonprofit organizations which offer shelter and counseling to victims of domestic violence.
The Men’s Group became involved with the cause about six years ago, when one of its members served on the jury of a domestic violence case. The fund-raising event, now in its fourth year, began as a modest dinner in a church basement and raised $5,000.
Since then, Flavors of the World has dramatically increased both its popularity and its profit. Proceeds have more than doubled since the event’s inception and last year’s total was $40,000. That money helped Womansplace purchase a larger local shelter for women and children in need of protection.
Womansplace, the only domestic violence shelter in Plymouth County, received more than 2,400 hotline calls in the last year alone. Unfortunately, they are now experiencing declines in funding, making it difficult to serve the increasing numbers of women seeking refuge.
HUGS II is also having difficulty keeping up with growing demand. HUGS II President Denise Papagno said that the organization is suffering from cuts in both government and private funding.
“At the same time, we are experiencing a spike in the number of victims requesting services for themselves and for their children,” Papagno, an Easton police officer, said. “There is clearly a correlation between job loss and increased domestic violence.”
Kevin Symmons, co-chairman of the Men’s Group, said he recognizes corporate sponsorships will likely decrease this year due to the struggling economy. With that in mind, they are putting a greater focus on encouraging attendance.
“It’s more of a grassroots approach,” Symmons said. “Finding people who want to come and then asking them to bring friends.”
This year’s event will feature cuisine by Crazy Chefs Caterers, wines by Pop’s Fine Wines, and desserts donated by Finales. A local band will provide music and dancing throughout the night. A silent auction of generously donated items will also take place during the course of the evening.
All proceeds will go towards keeping both Womansplace and HUGS II in operation.
“We are committed to helping these organizations continue to provide emergency shelter, education, training, and other critical services to the mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends in our area,” Symmons said. “We hope that the community will help make this event a success by joining us at the Flavors of the World dinner dance.”
“Flavors of the World” will take place at the Thorny Lea Golf Club from 7 p.m. to midnight. Tickets are $75 per person and can be purchased by calling the church at 508-238-6423, Kevin Symmons at 617-774-9874, or by e-mailing Denise Papagno at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are unable to attend, but would like to make a contribution to either organization, please send your tax-deductible contribution made payable to: HUGS II or Womansplace and mail directly to Covenant Congregational Church, c/o Men’s Group, 204 Center Street, N. Easton, MA 02356.
I hope other men's groups do similar events!