Suzanne Smith hopes people will shop for the holidays while supporting survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Once again this year, The Bridge is hosting its Festival of Hope, an online auction that runs until December 5.
Through this event, the public can purchase gifts and decorations for the holidays, while benefiting from an agency that serves clients in a region of five counties.
Online auction items include: a weeklong cabin getaway in Estes Park; rounds of golf on many golf courses; tickets to family events and a number of holiday baskets, centerpieces, decorated trees and wreaths.
The auction is available on https://qtego.net/qlink/thebridge
“We wanted to make it easier for supporters in our five counties to shop for vacations while helping to build communities free from violence,” said Smith, executive director.
All proceeds from auctions will be used to fund direct services.
This is the 18th year that the community will participate in the Festival of Hope.
Although the name and location have changed over the years, the vacation offer and agency service support has remained constant, Smith said.
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The first year the event was called “Cup of Hope / Festival of Trees” and was held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Fremont.
“We served coffee, cider and baked goods as people came to browse and bid on the decorated and donated holiday trees. We had young children from the community playing Christmas carols on the piano and other instruments, ”Smith said.
The following year, the “Festival of Trees” was held in the Kollmeyers building in downtown Fremont. Shoppers browsed and offered decorated and donated trees while sipping coffee and cider and eating a cookie or two.
“They have hosted the Festival of Hope for several years,” Smith said. “The trees were so beautiful, unique with different themes. We continued the tradition of conserving trees, but decided that we had to expand the items available at auction as so many people have come year after year and ultimately couldn’t put another tree in their house!
The event was eventually transferred to Abe Krasne Home Furnishings and the name was changed to “Festival of Hope”.
“Krasne’s graciously hosted our event during the Christmas March for several years, which allowed us to expand auction items as well,” Smith said.
Over the past two years, this fundraiser has moved to an online format to help encourage and support the health and safety of the community.
“A lot of people told us they were missing the items on display for their family to come and sail while on vacation,” Smith said. “We’ll see what next year brings as we all miss the sure touch.”
Smith expressed his gratitude.
“The Bridge appreciates all the support we have received from those who take the time to create these really fun and festive items. The individuals, businesses and families, who donate events and other items, and our event sponsors are wonderful, ”she said.
Support from community sponsors such as Sid Dillon Chevrolet Fremont helps make the event possible.
“We are grateful to everyone who will ‘shop’ online and support The Bridge this week,” Smith said.
The Bridge’s mission is to help individuals and families experiencing domestic violence, dating violence and sexual assault in Burt, Cuming, Dodge, Saunders and Washington counties.
Smith said The Bridge is the only domestic violence / sexual assault program serving this region.
The Bridge’s main office in Fremont and its outreach office in Blair provide confidential emergency shelter, a 24-hour crisis line (1-888-721-4340), support groups and education and prevention programs for young people.
For more information, contact Suzanne Smith, Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-721-4340.