A fundraiser and a “friendraiser” are the words Peg Ruddy, Women’s Resource Center (WRC) executive director, used to refer to the Great Chefs XXIV “Food Truck Frenzy-Curbside Cuisine” event.
“The fundraiser ties right back into what we’re doing,” Ruddy said. “The reason we’re doing the fundraiser is to support all of those programs (here at the center). But, it’s a friendraiser, too, because people get to know about us.”
One hundred percent of the proceeds raised are used to provide crisis intervention and safe housing for adults and children who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, according to Ruddy.
In the food truck battle, which is scheduled to take place on Thursday, May 1 at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel, “What The Fork” co-owner Katie Graziosi and her female crew in The Beast will face off against the men’s truck, “Mooch,” led by co-owner Mario Bevilacqua.
What The Fork appeared on the television show, “Live With Kelly and Michael,” and placed second in the national food truck competition.
Jackie Lewandowski, WNEP-TV Home and Backyard, will host the event.
Ruddy said the whole committee is made up of “total volunteers,” including co-chairs, Pat Preate, Carole Cader and Claudia Naismith. The event is always a sell out with as many as 500 tickets sold.
The WRC answers approximately 40 hotline calls per day and provides a haven to 100 families per year to its safe house program. Since 1983, the center has provided 89,842 nights of safe housing.
“On average we’re serving 1,500 clients per year and that’s just from Lackawanna County,” Ruddy said.
The WRC also covers Montrose in Susquehanna County.
One year ago, the center was designated as a pilot site for its economic advocacy program, which addresses the housing and economic barriers survivors face when attempting to escape abusive relationships. Ruddy said the WRC offers transitional housing, system’s advocacy, financial goal planning, informational meetings, economic abuse assessment, and safety planning.
“We have a program where we’re a pilot site and only one of five in the country through the Center for Survivor Agency and Justice…,” Ruddy said. “It’s a hands-on approach to practical assistance, including economic education to help women with housing needs and job searches.”
Ruddy said the primary reason battered women are stuck in violent relationships is economics, “Because where are they going to go? We offer women that other place to go. If you have nowhere to go, you’re not leaving. We’re looking at our model and we’re changing the way we interact with families in the community so we can address their housing needs, first and foremost…
“We have engaged our board of directors, staff and the community in a strategic planning process and we came up with four areas we wanted to work on as it relates to the future of the center…”
Larger scale fundraising is one of the center’s goals.
Great Chefs XXIV will get underway at 5:30 p.m., beginning with a cash bar. Tickets are $75 and tables of eight or 10 may be reserved. Reservations close April 21.