TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — For the second year, Help In Crisis will host a Black and White Masquerade Ball to raise awareness and funds. The event is set for Oct. 26.
"We're unveiling the mask behind domestic violence," said Laura Kuester, HIC executive director. "It's real and happens in our community. It's a silent, hidden epidemic."
For almost 40 years, HIC, a 501(c)(3) organization, has been providing help, information, and shelter to women and children impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault.
The proceeds will not go to just one of HIC's program.
"The benefit is to continue providing services for victims and children. We have to have funding to continue providing vital services," said Kuester.
According to Kuester, HIC serves 4,000-5,000 people a year, and the shelter stays at maximum capacity each month.
Around 250-300 people attended last year's masquerade ball, and this year's will be in the Chota Conference Room at Cherokee Casino Tahlequah.
"We're really excited and it's giving us the chance to expand and double the space. Our initial goal this year was 400, but we may expand it to 500," said Kuester.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Halloween, and Kuester said the ball is a chance to get dressed up and put on costumes.
"Domestic violence is never fun. This brings us an opportunity to talk about domestic violence in a fun atmosphere," she said. "Last year, it was a fun event. I think they community really liked it. We had some people come out who had never supported or donated to Help In Crisis or knew what we do."
The attire for the evening should be semi-formal to formal, with masks encouraged.
Some masks will be available for purchase at the door.
"That is another thing that made it fun," said Kuester.
Contests for Best Dressed Couple and Most Creative Mask will take place.
The full buffet dinner is new this year, and Kuester said there will be a short program during the event. It will also feature a live auction, a silent auction for themed baskets, a DJ, dancing, and cash bars.
Among other items to be auctioned are trips, jewelry, a purse, and baked goods.
"We're looking for people to donate auction items. It can be a themed basket or individual items we can use in a basket," said Kuester.
Individual tickets are $50 each, or a table for eight is $500.
Thanks to donors, sponsors, business people, and groups of friends, the tables have been selling quickly, Kuester said.
The reserved tables will be at the front of the room and will have name placards on them. The sponsor will be mentioned in the event program and at the ball. Each person at the table will receive a party favor.
"It's reserved for all eight friends, so they're not all spread out," said Kuester.
The deadline for ticket sales will be Oct. 18, and no tickets will be sold at the door. To purchase tickets for the Help In Crisis Black and White Masquerade Ball, call the office at 918-456-0673 or search eventbrite.com for the event.