WEST TOWN — More than 70 members of Chicago’s bar and restaurant scene helped to raise $18,444 for Connections for Abused Women and their Children — Chicago’s oldest charity dedicated to domestic violence.
The May 2 fundraiser was, by far, the largest of its kind, CAWC leaders said.
Stephanie Love-Patterson, the executive director of CAWC, has worked for domestic violence charities in Chicago for more than three decades. In April, she said the industry-wide support is “unheard of.”
Alexa Markoff, fundraising director for CAWC, said she was glad the industry united for this cause.
“We thank the restaurant industry for their generous support, their partnership with CAWC to end domestic violence, and for helping raise awareness about domestic violence,” she said. “I have not seen an industry unite for a cause like Chicago’s restaurant industry did for Industry Night.”
Founded in 1977 and headquartered at 1117 N. Kedzie Ave. in Humboldt Park, CAWC provides the following services, which come at a high cost:
- 24-hour hotline — $1,000 pays for one month of the telephone bill.
- A 12-bed emergency shelter with a confidential address in Wicker Park — $5,000 pays for three months of shelter; $250 pays for transportation expenses for 10 survivors; $500 pays for job interview-appropriate clothing for seven survivors; $100 pays for school supplies.
- Free medical services for survivors and domestic violence trainings for staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County — $2,500 pays for one year of counseling for a child who has witnessed domestic violence.
- Substance abuse services at the Haymarket Center
- Community outreach services with groups such as local police districts and churches
The Industry Night fundraiser started with Daniella Caruso, co-owner of West Town German restaurant Funkenhausen.
After volunteering at a domestic violence fundraiser, the issue was “top of mind” for Caruso. She was deeply troubled to learn that, despite the city’s population of 2.7 million, there are only about 150 beds available for emergency shelter.
Caruso said she hopes the fundraiser is just the beginning. One of her long-term goals is to facilitate trainings for bar and restaurant managers who are unsure of how to spot signs of abuse among their staffs.
“My hope is to show this community, West Town and all of Chicago — there is a network of people who care, and who believe you, and who want to help in whatever way they can,” Caruso said. “I think that that’s really important.”
Domestic violence comes in many forms, Love-Patterson said; it can be physical, emotional, sexual and psychological. Recognizing red flags early on is important.
Read more about domestic violence at CAWC’s website.