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'We need the community's support': Argrow's House moves annual gala, online

The nonprofit helps women and children survivors of domestic abuse. The money raised this year will go towards renovating a new industrial kitchen.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — The Quad Cities non-profit Argrow's House is looking to take their third annual gala, online

The event will take place on Thursday, Nov. 12, from 6 to 7:30pm and feature a speech from Reverend Becca Stevens (founder of Thistle Farms, one of the first survivor-made bath and body social enterprises), an online auction, survivor testimonials, music, artistic performances, and a showcasing of Argrow's House developments planned for 2020-2021. 

Along with the full program, each ticket holder will also receive a $10 local restaurant gift card, as well as an Argrow's House Hope Box containing two bath and body products.

To purchase a ticket, you can click here, visit their website, or contact Argrow's House by email (info@argrowshouse.org) or phone (563-528-0892) for more information. Tickets can be purchased right up until the event begins. 

Argrow's House provides free services for women - and their children - who are surviving domestic violence and abuse. This includes support groups, art therapy, horseback riding therapy, massage therapy, yoga, spiritual direction and more. 

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The non-profit also works as a social enterprise, by running a bath and both shop out of the house. Women in the group can create and sell the products, which Argrow's House says provides mental and financial empowerment. 

In the two and a half years that Argrow's House has been in the Quad Cities community, they've exploded in growth - both for their services and their shop. While founder Dr. Kit Evans-Ford says this is an incredible accomplishment, it's also meant that things at their house have gotten a little crowded. 

"In the small kitchen of Argrow's House is where we make our products, and we have a pretty large product line," said Dr. Evans-Ford. "This front room has about 2,000 soaps in it." 

From lotions to bath bombs, soaps to body butters, hand sanitizers to masks, and more, Argrow's House says the increased demand has meant more room dedicated to product creation and storage - and less for women who need to stay at the house as part of their healing. Right now, the house only has two available beds, but actively serves between 40 and 50 women each month. 

In response, Dr. Evans-Ford says the money raised from this year's gala will go towards renovating an industrial kitchen in Moline, donated by Grace City Church. That will be used by the women to make their products, but also as a classroom space for community members to learn how to make something while meeting the employees (and survivors) of Argrow's House. 

"Having a larger space, which is like four times the size of this space, will literally help us to spread out - to have a kitchen where we can move forward and thrive as we work to expand our ecommerce," she said.

It will also allow the house to triple the available beds at their original location, from two to six. 

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"To have a safe space where you don't have to worry about only having days to back on your feet is everything," said Dr. Evans-Ford. "The reality of Covid-19 has impacted everyone, but especially survivors of trauma. The reality of depression and of relapse in our community has really been heavy on so many of the women and children." 

The goal for this year's fundraising is $50,000, and everything from the gala including donations, ticket sales, and online auction profits, will be going towards the industrial kitchen. Argrow's House says they've already raised about $35,000 so far, and they hope to make up the remaining $15,000 at the online event. 

Dr. Evans-Ford says several returning sponsors have upped their donations this year, and a private donor has agreed to match every donation up to $20,000 so they are confident they can meet their goals. 

"But we do need the community's support to reach that and to keep things moving forward, so we can keep serving women and children," she said. 

Last year's fundraiser was attended by over 400 people and brought in $75,000, which was used to pay off the house. 

As of Tuesday evening, Argrow's House said about 100 people were signed up to participate in the virtual gala, and they hope to triple that number before the event.