It’s a chance to provide some hope.

This year marks the 14th Annual Festival of Hope – an event designed to raise funds for The Bridge, while offering shoppers a chance to buy some unique holiday items.

Area residents are invited to participate in the fundraiser, planned from Nov. 25 through Dec. 3.

The Bridge, at 141 S. Union St., in Fremont offers emergency and temporary shelter for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault and many other services.

With the Festival of Hope, area residents donate decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, centerpieces and other holiday items for a silent auction.

Representatives from businesses and organizations along with area individuals may to drop off their items on Tuesday at Abe Krasne’s Home Furnishings, 450 N. Main St., in Fremont.

Items will be placed throughout Krasne’s and across the street at Casual Lifestyles, 447 N. Main St., said Linda Schlapfer, outreach coordinator.

Bidding sheets will be placed at both locations. Would-be buyers can go into the stores and place their bids on the sheets.

Bids start at $25 with $5 increments. The highest bidders will be called on Dec. 3 to pick up their items on Dec. 4.

Krasne’s hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. The store also is open until 8 p.m. Thursdays; from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays.

“The money directly supports The Bridge services,” Schlapfer said.

The Bridge provides confidential services for individuals and families who experience domestic abuse, dating violence and sexual assault. The agency serves people in five counties, Burt, Cuming, Dodge, Saunders and Washington.

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It offers other services including: a 24-hour crisis line (1-888-721-4340 or 1-402-727-7777); safety planning; crisis intervention counseling; emergency/temporary shelter; support groups for adults and children who’ve experienced domestic and sexual abuse; accompaniment and medical support; criminal and civil justice support.

Other services include: prevention programming for youth (from preschool through college) and the community; a batter’s intervention program and community education.

All victim services are free, confidential and available in English and Spanish.

Last year, staff and volunteers at The Bridge responded to 4,092 calls for help on the agency’s 24-hour crisis line; 838 individuals with 752 children received face-to-face crisis intervention and support services, said Suzanne Smith, executive director.

The Bridge also provided 567 youth prevention presentations to almost 7,000 people. Educators worked with youth in 84 different classrooms throughout the service area.

Smith also noted that every nine seconds in the United States, a woman is battered and by the end of this year, almost 4 million children will have witnessed domestic violence.

She said one in four women and one in seven men experience severe physical violence in their lifetime.

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News Editor

Tammy Real-McKeighan is news editor of the Fremont Tribune. She covers news, features, religion stories and writes the weekly faith-based, Spiritual Spinach column.

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