Safer Futures holds 8th Annual Hope in a Handbag fundraiser


A collection of purses up for auction at the 8th annual Hope in a Handbag fundraiser for Portage County’s Safer Futures’ Domestic Violence Shelter and Resource Center at The Overlook on Oct. 20, 2018. 

Anna Smith

Portage County community members gathered together to raise money for Safer Futures’ Domestic Violence Shelter and Resource Center with the 8th annual handbag silent auction on Oct. 20.

The event, titled “Hope in a Handbag,” held at The Overlook restaurant in Kent, is an annual silent auction of new and gently-used designer purses where proceeds go toward improving the shelter and related services.

Safer Futures’ Domestic Violence Shelter and Resource Center is the only domestic violence shelter and resource center in Portage County. According to their website, Safer Futures provides people and their children with various services and a safe place to stay at their undisclosed location shelter.

“Safer Futures has been working in Portage County for over 40 years,” said Amy Kelly, the outreach and volunteer services coordinator for Safer Futures. “We really aim to work with survivors exactly where they are.”

As the only fundraiser of the year, Hope in a Handbag has had an impact on the Safer Futures organization and on the community members that attend this event.

“This is probably the fifth time I’ve come,” said Sally Saltzman, an attendee of the Hope in a Handbag auction. “It’s fun and I like supporting Safer Futures. I think there’s a real need.”

Along with the purse auction, the proceeds from this event also come from the raffle tickets and gift baskets.

“A silent auction is the best way because the competition is still there but you don’t have so many people being so vocal,” said Vanessa Jackson, the program manager for Safer Futures. “It’s quiet and the competition gets really high. That’s just the easiest way for us to raise money and for people just to enjoy.”

“All the proceeds from Hope in a Handbag we use at the shelter in some kind of way,” Jackson said. “Making the shelter more homey for our residents, providing birth certificates for our residents. We also use money like that for drivers licenses, state IDs, anything that they may need, the money and the proceeds go to that.”

Jackson also expressed the need to raise money to build a bigger shelter so Safer Futures can support more of the men, women and children they serve.

“The purses draw women specifically and they tend to really get excited about the competition of the featured bags,” said Mary Adamson, a board member for Safer Futures. “We have a lot of women that really are very generous and will bring those prices up. It really fosters a lot of community and interaction among the women that are here.”

Hope in a Handbag has had a positive impact in the community and has received support and donations from vendors, business and private donors. Safer Futures has brought in a large number of people to this event for the purpose of supporting survivors within their own community who need their aid.

“The work of this organization is trying to help people be safe and educated and find a safe future,” Adamson said.

Anna Smith is a general assignment reporter. Contact her at [email protected].