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Saturday, November 18, 2017, 6:29 a.m.

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The Safe Place plans Tree-Mendous Event

By Tammy Keith

This article was published October 22, 2017 at 12:00 a.m.

MORRILTON — The fourth annual Tree-Mendous Event in Morrilton will be short and sweet, but it’s an important source of funding for The Safe Place shelter, organizers said.

The silent-auction fundraiser is scheduled for 9:30-11 a.m. Nov. 18 at the Allison/Magie Ford building, 1207 E. Harding St.

Dusty Norris, shelter manager, said it’s a fun event that packs a lot into an hour and a half.

“The silent auction items are all Christmas things — wreaths, arrangements, Christmas trees. We’ve had stockings in the past; we’ve had ornaments in the past, Christmas figurines,” she said. “Last year, we had anywhere from 15 to 20 trees and probably a dozen wreaths. We’ve got it posted on our Facebook page, and as we get items donated, we’ll put the pictures on there.”

The trees are decorated by businesses or groups in town, she said.

“We have some people who will purchase [a tree] and take it to their Sunday School classroom, or they may donate it to somebody else. We attach all the ornaments and everything to the tree so they can’t come off,” she said.

Norris said snacks will be available at the event.

“We serve what we call nibbles — breakfast casseroles, fresh fruit, doughnuts, which are included in the ticket price.”

Admission is $20 per person for anyone 18 and older.

Norris said the Tree-Mendous Event is one of two main fundraisers for the domestic-abuse shelter; the other is the Administrative Assistants’ Day Fundraiser Luncheon that takes place each April.

The Rev. Jo Warren, executive director of The Safe Place, said funding has not decreased for the shelter, but it also hasn’t increased in the past few years.

“This is very important because these are undesignated funds, which means they go into our general budget so we can use them in any way needed,” Warren said. “Most all grants are designated.”

The shelter has 14 rooms for men, women and their children.

“We served men before, but we housed them at hotels and things,” Warren said. “A year ago, we had our first male in the shelter. We were able to make some provisions that made it work; that’s not always going to be the case.”

Conway and Perry counties make up the primary area served, but the shelter has housed people from all over the United States, Warren said.

“We’re looking to go north, to pick up Van Buren [county], but we haven’t done that yet,” she said.

Warren said that although the event is short, “it’s kind of exciting” because of the auction and children visiting Santa.

Many people come and stay the whole time; others will give their maximum bid and leave.

Warren said she encourages people to attend and enjoy the refreshments and help The Safe Place at the same time.

And, as Norris said, “Christmas will be here before you know it.”

For more information, call Warren at (501) 354-1884 or (501) 208-1065 or Norris at 479-264-5225, or email thesafeplace@suddenlinkmail.com.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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