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Middle Way House Announces Inaugural Wrapped in Love Benefit During Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Updated October 3, 2017 5:58 AM | Filed under: Event
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(BLOOMINGTON) - Middle Way House is announcing their first-ever Wrapped in Love Benefit, which will be held on Sunday, October 8th from 5-8 p.m. in the Fountain Square Mall Ballroom.

The benefit will celebrate the opening of Middle Way House's annual Wrapped in Love public art display of tree wraps.

The Wrapped in Love project was created to raise awareness and funds for the nonprofit emergency shelter and rape crisis center, which serves six counties in southern Indiana. October is national Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Middle Way House chose this art display to raise public awareness for the work they do.

The community of Bloomington has shown their support for Middle Way House and this project in many ways, with more than twenty tree wrap sponsors this year, and a team of nearly thirty fabric artists.

This year's Wrapped in Love tree wrap sponsors (ranging three levels of sponsorship) include the following: Thoreauly Terrific: Yarns Unlimited, REMAX--The Results Team, TNW Automotive Services, Pictura Gallery, Renee Giacobbe for Toby Strout, Lucky's Market, Beth Shalom for Toby Strout, Precision Eye Group, Lahn Law, Needmore Coffee Roasters, Anna Strout for Toby Strout, Sutor Dental, Opera Maya, Baked!, DeAngelo's Bloomington and the DeYoung Family for Woodruff Johnson DeYoung--Canis Perfectus, German American Bank; Deam-ed Necessary: Sandi Taylor Hometown Insurance, LLC; Sherwood Like to Help: The Himsel Family for Friends of the Library and in memory of John Himsel, Bloomington PRIDE, Prism Youth Community, the Arts Alliance of Greater Bloomington, the Himsel Family for the Monroe County Historic Center and in memory of James and Viola Himsel, Katherine Devich for the Shalom Community Center, and the Fabulous Fit Ladies of the YMCA.

Tickets to the Wrapped in Love Benefit include a fiber art auction featuring handmade garments and accessories sponsored by Yarns Unlimited, a tea bar sponsored by Cup & Kettle Tea, a coffee and hot chocolate bar sponsored by Needmore Coffee Roasters, cookies sponsored by Baked!, appetizers, as well as the live music of The NorTones, Vuku, and Janiece Jaffee & Curtis Cantwell Jackson. A beer and wine cash bar will also be available.

Each ticketholder will also get to choose and take home a handmade hat, scarf or pair of gloves and vote for their favorite tree wrap. Additional votes may be purchased for $1 each.

The project was first started in 2012 by the late Toby Strout, former executive director of Middle Way House, and Mary Ann Gingles, owner of Yarns Unlimited. This year, Gingles is putting together a silent auction of handmade items for a silent auction at the Benefit. "We are so grateful to Mary Ann for her support of our work, not only for getting this project off the ground, but helping us to keep it going" said events coordinator Rachael Himsel.

"The celebration of this public art display will be such a fun and inspiring event and is a reflection of our wonderful community," said Debra Morrow, executive director of Middle Way House. "We are so appreciative of all of the businesses that sponsored tree wraps and the community members who generously donated their time and talents to knitting and crocheting these beautiful pieces of art."

Besides the Benefit on the 8th, a yarn-cutting ceremony will take place Friday, October 6th at 6 p.m. on the courthouse lawn as part of the First Friday Gallery Walk. The winning tree wraps and their teams will be announced at Middle Way House's annual fall luncheon on October 26th. The sweaters will remain on display through March 15th. Middle Way House wishes to assure the public that the sweaters have not caused any damage to the trees, according to Lee Huss, Urban Forester for the City of Bloomington.

Wrapped in Love Benefit tickets are $25 for adults and $5 for children (ages 12 and under).

To purchase tickets for the Wrapped in Love Benefit, please visit and click on "events" or call (812)333-7404. For Middle Way House's free, confidential crisis line, call (812) 336-0846

About Domestic Violence Awareness Month:

Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) was launched nationwide by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in October 1987 as a way to connect and unite individuals and organizations working on domestic violence issues and raise awareness for these issues. October 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of DVAM. Over the last three decades, much progress has been made to support domestic violence victims and survivors, to hold abusers accountable, and to create and update legislation to further these goals.

About Middle Way House:

Since 1971, Middle Way House has been providing services to people in crisis. Today, Middle Way House provides emergency shelter; a 24-hour crisis line; on-scene advocacy; support services for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking; transitional and permanent housing solutions for survivors; legal advocacy; and education and prevention programs. Middle Way House serves six counties in southern Indiana, relying on a staff of 70 and a volunteer force of 300+ to provide around-the-clock response to abuse and assault. Middle Way House has been recognized as one of six national model programs by the U.S. Department of Justice. For more information, please visit:

Middle Way House offers:

A 24-hour Crisis Line: (812) 336-0846. The Crisis Line offers immediate intervention and support by trained peers and advocates. Help is available in multiple languages, as well as TDD, for the hearing impaired. These services are free and confidential.

Emergency shelter for people fleeing violence at home. Our 30-bed shelter is a safe place for families until they are able to find an appropriate, affordable place to live. At the shelter, residents contribute to the upkeep of their own and group spaces, often share evening meals, and take advantage of programs designed to help them move on with their lives.

Transitional Housing: helps low-income individuals who are recovering from the impacts of domestic violence to secure permanent, safe and affordable housing; achieve economic security; and develop their capacities for self-determination. The RISE! opened in 1998, and currently provides affordable housing for 28 families who have experienced life-threatening violence, poverty, and homelessness. Free programming at The RISE! focuses on giving the formerly dis-empowered the knowledge, skills, and confidence to take the power that is rightfully theirs to determine their own future.

Healthy Relationships & Violence Prevention Education: Middle Way House has created interactive curriculum designed to prevent interpersonal dating violence as well as domestic and sexual violence. Specially trained educators tailor presentations to fit the specific needs of each audience. This program is offered to area middle schools, high schools, and youth-serving organizations. Adult versions of the program are available, including sessions for developmentally disabled adults and lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender men and women. Our objective is for participants to leave with the shared goal of preventing violence in the future and in possession of the skills to do just that

Legal Advocacy: The legal advocacy team is coordinated by an attorney and two paralegals. Legal advocates are available weekdays from 8 AM - 6 PM to assist people with questions relating to legal remedies for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, trafficking and harassment. Advocates assist clients in filling out divorce petitions, motions to assist, and protective orders; discuss custody and visitation options, making referrals to pro bono and reduced fee programs, private attorneys, therapists and other resources; assist clients eligible for victims' compensation in pursuing that relief; accompany victims to court hearings and case-related appointments to provide emotional support. The legal advocacy office coordinates services with the Protective Order Project, at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, which provides assistance with volunteer attorney back-up for persons seeking protective orders, and Protective Order Assistance Partnership (POAP), located within the Monroe County Clerk's Office, for victims who are self-petitioning for orders of protection.

Sexual Assault Support Services: Middle Way House provides services for survivors of sexual assault, which includes any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.

Human Trafficking Support Services: The U.S. Department of State estimates over 27 million people across the globe are currently trapped in a form of modern day slavery and the United States has been identified as a significant hub for both labor and sex trafficking. Middle Way House has provided support services for many survivors of human trafficking, which is defined as a commercial sex act induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age. We provide shelter and resources for survivors.

Middle Way House envisions a community where individuals live free from violence and the threat of violence; a community characterized by social and economic justice, and equality across the gender spectrum; a community where everyone's contribution is honored and individual and group differences are valued; a community where every citizen is adequately fed, housed, educated and employed; a community that provides opportunities for meaningful participation, personal growth, and creative expression.

For more information, please visit

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