Gig Harbor-based West Sound Workforce raised $2,000 for Key Peninsula’s IMPact domestic violence shelter, following a “ladies night out” event focused around shopping and networking. Four artisans, including two Key Pen residents, answered the employment agency’s call to participate in the November Una Bella Notte, donating between 35 percent to 60 percent of their proceeds to the fund-raiser.

Wauna’s Rebecca Gilbert (left) of Third Wish Jewelry participated in the fundraiser, selling her handmade jewelry. Key Pen resident Morgan Sobeck also participated, selling her pottery. Photo by Rodika Tollefson

“We were really excited to be approached by West Sound Workforce. They came up with the idea and planned the whole event,” said Penny Gazabat, IMPact House executive director. “We were surprised to see the turnout. It was also a great opportunity to get more exposure to the business community—because of our organization having to be low key (due to safety reasons), we don’t have this kind of opportunity often.”

The event, hosted at the business’ Gig Harbor office, started out as an idea to “invite some friends and buy some jewelry,” said company President Julie Tappero.

“Then we decided it should be for a good cause,” she said. “The domestic violence shelter on the Key Peninsula has been on my mind for a long time; we wanted to do something for them.”

Una Bella Notte (A Beautiful Night) was geared for business women, though the men who came were not turned down. Many people made additional cash donations toward the fund-raiser, and the West Sound Workforce staff solicited door prizes and small gifts for the guests.

IMPact staff was on hand to share information about their work and the program.

“I think all women know someone who’s been affected by domestic violence. I thought it was great when the shelter opened in the area,” Tappero said. “It gave us all a chance to be educated about what (domestic violence) means in the workplace.”

The shelter is in its fourth year of operation at an undisclosed location on the Key Peninsula. It was funded through a three-year grant for seed money from the Geneva Foundation as well as community donations. Gazabat is the only paid support staff, with volunteers coordinating a variety of jobs ranging from yard maintenance to a clothing closet program.

The seven-bed capacity shelter started out under the auspices of IMPact, an interdenominational-based group that also serves meals to residents in need. Since then, the safe house has continued to be faith-based but has become independent from church affiliation, which is the reason it may be changing its name to better reflect its identity, Gazabat said.

The nonprofit organization is currently applying for grants to fund its operations, including paying for more support staff. The group is actively searching for a new facility that could accommodate as many as 19 beds, within the limits of the city of Gig Harbor is the desired location. Gazabat said being in Gig Harbor would allow for faster police response and better security, as well as allow the shelter to serve Key Peninsula women. Currently, due to safety concerns, Key Pen victims of domestic violence are not housed at IMPact.

“We hope to partner with the city, or an individual who wants to donate property, or a portion of their property for a tax break,” Gazabat said.

In addition to being able to hire a part-time advocate and a donations coordinator, Gazabat hopes the organization can restart its program at the Women’s Correctional Center in Purdy. The program, which was put on hold due to funding shortage, educates inmates on issues of domestic violence.

For more information about IMPact Safe House, visit www.impactkp.org or call 884-5086.

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