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November 2016- articles


- Little Artists

- Hope for the Holidays

- CASA Kennel Has Arrived

- Culinary Success at Gulfport

Little Artists

Beautiful artwork from the children at CASA's domestic violence center. We hope you enjoy!

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Bringing Hope for the Holidays

The year is slowly coming to a close, and the holidays are quickly approaching. What does this time of year mean to you? Do you have your family traditions that bring you all together, surrounding a table and eating a home cooked meal? Or perhaps you share gifts, making memories as eyes light up and every box opens?  The holidays, whatever your family tradition, are a time for love, selflessness and most of all, hope, for a brighter new year. If we are lucky enough, we can feel and experience all of these things during the holidays.

For the survivors who are receiving CASA’s services, whether that means living in our Emergency Shelter or simply participating in support groups in our Outreach Program, the traditions of the holidays can often fall to the wayside. Financial, physical and emotional limitations often prevent survivors from being able to do all of the things that they do for their children or loved ones during this time of the year, as they are often worrying about where they will live, how to keep the children enrolled in school or if they will have enough money to put food on the table. But, don’t you think we all deserve to experience the holidays in a way that reminds us that we are loved and capable of loving too, despite what is going on in the world around us? The answer is most definitely, yes!

Every year, CASA dedicates the entire month of December to the Hope for the Holidays program, which provides hundreds of donated gifts to women, children and men who are participating in CASA’s many programs. Through the kindness and generosity of community members like you, we have been able to bring hope and light to those in the dark, year after year. During the 2015 holiday season, we were able to provide gifts to over 150 survivors and their families!

Are you feeling the spirits of the holidays, and want to give back? There are many ways to give, and we ask you to join us in making this year even brighter than the last.

Adopt an Outreach Family
In CASA’s Outreach Program, families may be participating in our support groups from several months to years.  We provide the opportunity to adopt one of these families.  How it works: survivors complete a Wish List for themselves and their children, and we gladly provide you with their specific wishes and family details so that clothing, toys and family items can be purchased.

Emergency Shelter Individuals & Families
Our shelter is able to provide a safe haven for up to 100 survivors and their families. They are able to stay with us for up to 45 days.  Due to the overturn within the residential program it is not known exactly which families will be with us during the holiday times.  Gifts donated from the general Holiday Wish List are used to provide the mothers, children, and all of our shelter residents the opportunity to come and choose donated gifts at Holiday Central. 

Safe Home Starter Kits

Help families settle into our emergency shelter or a home of their own by providing them a “Safe Home Starter Kit.” Suggested items to include are a pot and frying pan; measuring cups, oven mitt; plates, bowls, cups, silverware; cleaning products; and personal hygiene products.

We appreciate any type of giving you feel drawn to providing.  It is such a rewarding experience for us to watch the excitement and gratitude the survivors feel when they come to choose their gifts. Many of our families come to us with only the clothing they are wearing.  They are overwhelmed when they realize that due to the caring on your part they are able to provide their children with holiday gifts.

For more information on how to give back this holiday season through gift donations or to adopt a CASA family, please contact Kelly Steele at info@casa-stpete.org. To donate online please visit www.casa-stpete.org/donate.

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CASA's Kennel Has Arrived

The CASA Kennel Has Arrived!!

Thanks to the generosity of principal donor, Cain Kids & Critters, and support from Red Rover, the Pinellas Veterinary Medical Association, and dozens of others, CASA will soon open the doors and gates of a brand new, state of the art kennel for pets of domestic violence victims and their children who reside at the CASA Shelter.  The facility will also include space for exams, medical and food supply storage, isolation areas, bathing area, and outside run access for our “pets in residence.”  The kennel building has its own heat and AC to keep our pets comfortable during their stay with CASA.

All too often, victims and children experiencing domestic violence will not seek safety from dangerous situations where they must leave a loved pet behind, knowing full well that the violence they have experienced will be visited upon the animal they leave behind.  CASA chose to join a small group of domestic violence shelters around the country who understand the need to build and maintain a dedicated kennel to remove that impediment to victims seeking safety, and, at the same time, provide a safe and comfortable environment for these extended family members right next door to our facility.

CASA has been fortunate to have not only the financial support of so many who understand this need, but a dedicated core of volunteers who are helping us install the right equipment in the building and create a set of rules and SOP’s to operate the kennel going forward.  As we have worked our way through the process, CASA’s number one priority was to get this project completed correctly from design to operation and we are so appreciative for all the help we’ve received from our community.  We will have perhaps the “best of the best” domestic violence shelter kennels in existence today.  Our survivors and children will never be separated from their beloved pets and those pets will not have to suffer at the hands of abusers. 

If this project is as important to you as it is for CASA and those we serve, we know we will need to fund many expenses going forward for food, supplies, meds, professional vet and vet tech services, and even staff time.  Your generous support is critical so please, join CASA and help our new “furry” residents keep the lights and AC on, food in the dish, meds in the locker, and professional help just a phone call away.

John Biesinger is CASA’s Manager of Major Gifts. He welcomes reader comments about the article and questions about how to support CASA. John can be reached at (727) 895-4912 x105 and jbiesinger@casa-stpete.org. To donate online visit www.casa-stpete.org/donate.

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Gulfport Chefs' Table

Organizers of the first annual Gulfport Chef’s Table held October 10th, present a check for proceeds from the event to charitable recipient CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse). Additional proceeds from the event were distributed to CASA at a later date for a total donation of $8,569.75. Proceeds from the event were doubled by matching funds from the Sonia Raymund Foundation’s matching grant program. The sold out event featured various 4-course prix fixe menus offered by eight participating Gulfport restaurants.

Pictured from left to right: Jonathan Summers (Pia’s), Pia Goff (Pia’s), Veronica Champion (Isabelle’s at Peninsula Inn), Daniel Hodge (Gulfport Merchants Association), Jill Johnson (Mangia Gourmet), Suzanne Horn (CASA), John Riesebeck (Smokin’ J’s BBQ), Mo Venouziou (CASA), Gail Biron (City of Gulfport) and Justin Shea (City of Gulfport).  (Photo courtesy of Scott Linde, Gulfport Merchants Association.)

Restaurants participating were Backfin Blue Cafe, Boca Bay Grille, Isabelle's at The Historic Peninsula Inn, Mangia Gourmet, Neptune Grill, O'Maddy's Bar & Grille, Pia's Trattoria, and Smokin' J's Real Texas BBQ. Tables were assembled end-to-end to accommodate diners, with décor assembled by each restaurant for its own section of seating with fine dining details including white tablecloths, china, glassware and full table service.

The event was sponsored by the participating Gulfport restaurants, the City of Gulfport, the Gulfport Merchants Association, J.J. Taylor, Olympus Printing, Republic National Distribution Company and Superior Auto Body.

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