Comedy stand-up bits, funny skits, choreographed dances, and oh, so much more will take the stage Saturday, Feb. 8, for the Gillette Abuse Refuse Foundation’s (GARF) 24th Annual Chuckles for Charities “Heart to Heart” event with all proceeds going to help domestic violence victims in the community.
“Some people have been rehearsing their comedy act for a year,” GARF Prevention Education Coordinator Shawna McDonald said, adding that winners will be determined by audience votes and cash awards will be donated to the local charity of the winners’ choosing. “It’s going to be a really, really fun night supporting a really good cause.”
Funds raised this Saturday go toward grant matching to bring more money in, food for the shelter, and toward client aid, for example, relocating a victim to a new apartment, putting new locks on the doors, and money for gas, food, and all the things they need that current grants do not cover like medical care, first month’s rent, or utility deposits, GARF Executive Director Margie McWilliams said. “Domestic violence is a huge problem in our town. It’s a big deal to make sure that people are safe.”
So far, from July 1, 2019 to now, GARF has assisted 264 victims, McWilliams added, and during the 2018-2019 fiscal year, the organization provided over 5,305 advocacy services to 434 victims and shelter to 45 adults and 41 children.
Over the last 39 years, GARF has helped over 10,000 community members escape abuse.
“A lot of people leave with only the clothes on their back so we want to make sure they are set up for success,” McDonald said. “In a nutshell, we are trying to figure what the person’s next step is. That may be a protection order or a need for shelter or help finding a job. It looks different for every person that comes in.”
GARF provides shelter, help finding housing, and support groups as well as general life skills and free counseling.
“Coming to us is a new start for the victim,” McDonald noted. “We are the soft place to land when someone wants to leave an abusive relationship.
This year, due to renovations at Cam-Plex, the Chuckles for Charities event will be held in the Wyoming Center Frontier Hall from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8.
Social hour begins at 6 p.m. with a cash bar, silent auction, raffle tickets, and the GARF Wall of Wine, an opportunity for community members to donate and then receive a number that coordinates with a wrapped wine bottle ranging in value from $10 to $200.
Dinner begins at 7 p.m., and is being catered by The Railyard.
The comedy act and performance segments starring local talent is slated to begin at 8 p.m. with local singer/songwriter Tony Campese providing musical entertainment throughout the evening.
Tickets are still available and cost $75. To purchase, call (307) 686-8071 or email email@example.com. A select number of tickets will be available for purchase Saturday night at the door.
GARF is a local non-profit organization that provides free and confidential services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Campbell County. The 24-hour crisis hotline number is (307) 686-8070.