Monday, December 9, 2013

RAINN Down Hope

When I first thought about organizing a fundraiser to benefit the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) back in September, I figured it would be a great way to start the holiday season. I hoped to get maybe 60/65 people to attend and I was determined to go door to door to businesses until I'd gotten twenty donations. If things went really well, then maybe I'd do it again next year and aim to make the event a little bigger.

It's safe to say that I underestimated the massive generosity of people.

Saturday night over 140 people came to Molly Malone's to buy raffles for 69 donated baskets and 22 door prizes. By the end of the night, over $7500 was raised. When combined with the online donations, that is a grand total of $10260 (more than twice my original goal!) raised for RAINN.

Throughout this process I've been truly blown away by the response I've gotten. I've always believed that good outweighs bad in the world, but if I ever needed proof, I've got it.

First, the number of local and national businesses, as well as individuals, who made basket donations was staggering. If you're in the midst of holiday shopping and still looking for ideas, I'll be posting a list later this week. These authors, artists and stores all have wonderful products and are certainly worthy of patronage.

Then, there were the auction's attendees. There were a number of different groups, people from all different stages of my life, as well as some who I was meeting for the first time. They came from a variety of distances, from Maine to Pennsylvania to Virginia. I tried to speak with everyone for at least a little while and every single person who I spent time with expressed constant love and support. I was even stopped by members of the waitstaff, for handshakes and words of comfort.

Despite the darkness of the inciting incident that led to this event, Saturday night was all about the light. People cheered when others won auction baskets, regardless of whether or not they knew the winner. There were no cross words, no grievances. I was privileged to watch all these wonderful people give of their time and money, but even more impressively, of themselves.

 Getting ready for ticket sales! (Photo by Ed Johnson)

First table of baskets (Photo by Ed Johnson)

(Photo by Ed Johnson)

Long rows of generosity (Photo by Donna Schramm)

Mingling guests (Photo by Donna Schramm)

Scariest part of the evening for me. Was terrified I was going to throw up, but made
it through public speaking vomit free! (Photo by Donna Schramm)

Lucky raffle winner! (Photo by Donna Schramm)

I'm finding myself desperately searching for something bigger to say than "thank you," but I don't think the phrase exists. (Yet. I'm working on it, stay tuned.) So, again, thank you, thank you, thank you to all donors and attendees of the first RAINN Down Hope dinner and auction.

I have never been more inspired to truly embrace the spirit of the holidays.

And to answer a question I received many times the other night, we'll definitely all be getting together again next year.


  1. It is good to hear that there is even a program like this out there. I hope to someday be able to take part in something like this. I've gone through things like that as a little kid, and am still getting over them. I know how damaging it can be, and want to get to the point where I can not only talk about it but help others suffering in the same way. I think it is amazing you are to that point, and willing to do what you can to help. So thank you, very much

    1. Jack, I'm so sorry you had to go through that. RAINN has two hotlines that I found incredibly helpful when I was dealing with the aftermath of the attack. Also, please know that I am always here if you need someone to talk to!