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Black & White 2021 - Thank You!

Black & White 2021 - Thank You!

HOPE’s Night in Monte Carlo exceeded our expectations even though there were half the number of guests, no live auction or 50/50 raffle. The guests were beautiful, handsome, smiling but most of all, incredibly generous. We heard comments like, “This is the most fun we’ve had at a Black & White event,” or “What a beautiful and organized event,” and, “It’s great knowing HOPE is here when someone needs help” by Board and staff members throughout the evening. All we can say is Thank You!

Thank you to the Board of Directors lead by Co-Chairs, Michelle Cross and Katie Williams, who spearheaded the annual fundraiser, thank you to the staff members who turn out each year to make sure the event happens as seamlessly as possible and THANK YOU to you, our guests who came out to support survivors of domestic violence.

The pandemic has been anything but kind to victims and survivors of domestic violence. The number of incidents of domestic violence have skyrocketed and staff at HOPE have been stretched beyond all expectations. At our peak, we had nine hotel rooms while juggling a shelter at capacity with 11 families. Imagine if we didn’t have the money for the rooms and the callers were turned away due to a lack of resources. Would the homicide rate in our community skyrocket as well?

Home is not safe for everyone. Imagine if being locked in your home with someone who wants to hurt you and feeling as if there’s no way out. We’ve added a text line so those who need us can “reach out for help, without saying a word” day or night. Simply text the word survivor to 69922 and you’ll be silently chatting with a person who can help you organize a plan to stay safe. We couldn’t have done this without the support of the community.

Those suffering from domestic violence are safer thanks to our generous community, the community is stronger thanks to HOPE and HOPE is resilient thanks to you – our generous donors and supporters to whom we owe all our heartfelt appreciation. On behalf of those whose lives you’ve touched, again, I have to say thank you!

Click Here to check out our photo album from the Black & White 2021. 

October HOPE Heroes - 2021

October HOPE Heroes - 2021

October HOPE Heroes
Michelle & Katie - HOPE Board of Directors

Our HOPE Heroes for October are two outstanding members of HOPE’s Board of Directors and were the 2021 co-chairs for our annual Black & White Event. Michelle and Katie continuously go above and beyond in their positions at HOPE and we could not be more proud to have them on our team. Michelle serves on HOPE’s board as the Treasurer and Katie as HOPE’s Director of Membership.

About Michelle:


Michelle grew up in the Philadelphia area and graduated from the University of Delaware, which is where she met her husband, Tom. Michelle had talked about wanting to move to Florida for 10 years and finally did in 2015. She says it was the best decision ever! 

About Katie:


Katie grew up in Manatee County and attended a local high school. She currently works at the National Association of Fire Investigators. Katie has been a supporter of HOPE Family Services for 20+ years and has served on the board of directors for the last 6+ years. Katie’s father also sat on HOPE’s Board of Directors for a few years!

What have you learned while working at HOPE?
Michelle: That contrary to common belief, domestic abuse is present across all socioeconomic classes. You never know what goes on behind closed doors. The seemingly perfect couple who “has everything” may be hiding a big and dangerous secret.
Katie: Volunteering is a learning experience and you constantly continue to learn about others and about yourself.

What motivates you to volunteer with this organization?
Michelle: Someone very close to me once shared a story about having to spend a night in a shelter after fleeing an abusive situation. I want to make sure that parents and children have a safe place to go for support and empower them to seek help.
Katie: HOPE changes people’s lives, plain and simple.

Describe the most incredible view you’ve ever seen.
Michelle: The stars on a clear night in the Colorado mountains. It looked like you could reach out and touch them!
Katie: The Grand Canyon! It was breathtaking.

What’s your pizza order?
Michelle: NY style Margherita with extra cheese and fresh basil and a drizzle of truffle oil, yum!
Katie: Onions, mushrooms, & green olives!

We truly appreciate all of your hard work and dedication to our mission!

September HOPE Hero - 2021

September HOPE Hero - 2021

Lois - HOPE Volunteer

Our HOPE Hero for September is one of our phenomenal HOPE volunteers! Lois has been a valued member of our volunteer team and we can’t express how thankful we are to have her! She has played a role in making HOPE Chest Thrift Store become a place of positivity and happiness for survivors and local shoppers. Every day that Lois comes in, she has a fantastic time and goes above and beyond at helping.

What have you learned while volunteering at HOPE?
Lois: Since I started volunteering with HOPE, I have a better understanding of the scope of services that HOPE provides to local survivors. It makes me proud to be part of the HOPE Chest team.

What motivates you to volunteer with HOPE?
Lois: For starters, personal experience as well as, being a part of a dedicated and fun-loving team. Before volunteering with HOPE Chest Thrift Store, I had shopped there many times. Since then, it has transformed into the bright and cheerful place we all know it to be and I hope I can help keep that energy around.

What would your pet say about you if we asked for a reference?
Lois: That I am the ultimate human parent: tender, caring, fun, great cook, and warm cuddled. Above all else, I keep her safe.

Describe the most incredible view you’ve ever seen.
Lois: The sunset on the beach at Punta Del Nita, Nayarit, Mexico! I was lucky enough to see the “green flash” as the sun sank on the horizon. Absolutely incredible!

What’s your pizza order?
Lois: A New York-style white pizza with clams, garlic, and bacon… Heavenly!

We truly appreciate all of your hard work and dedication to our mission!

Thank You Back to School Drive 2021

BTS Donor Thank You List 2

Thanks to each and every one of you, we have provided over 150 children with necessary school supplies to start their year off right! No matter how children receive their education this year:  in-person or homeschooled - every student deserves the opportunity and resources to learn! Thank you, our generous donors, for contributing to this year’s Back to School Drive. We cannot put into words how grateful we are for our community of selfless and caring people - so thank you for continuing to support the children we serve each year with your kindness.        

Similar to last year, due to the uncertainty of where COVID would take us, our Back to School Drive was held differently. In addition to in-person donations, we brought back our online Wish List where donors could select specific items to be delivered directly to our office. We also offered the opportunity to “sponsor a backpack,” a simple way to help with school supplies by making an online donation. 

We would like to give a special thanks to the Louis and Gloria Flanzer Foundation, for supporting our efforts and DOUBLING each donation made through their website. 

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We were absolutely overwhelmed with the outpouring of support for our children. We had a fully stocked school supply room ready to offer the students we serve an opportunity to “shop” free of charge for their items. Every gift, regardless of size, helps set these children on the right track to succeed in school. This change wouldn't have been possible without assistance from our community. We can't thank you enough for your help during the current year's school supply drive! 

We welcome donations of all types, as our doors are always open for victims and survivors of domestic violence. Whether time, talent or treasure, we welcome your help for the families in our community who need our services. For a list of items we urgently need, please visit the donations section of our website. 

        Angels At Work B2S Donation 2021 Copy         4 Copy        Gator Lounge B2S 2 Copy

July HOPE Hero - 2021


Jill Retirement 07.15.2021 Copy
Jill joined HOPE Family Services 16 years ago and has been a valued member of our team. Over the years she has provided supportive counseling services to survivors and their children. Her commitment and dedication to the participants we serve are worthy of admiration. As Jill begins her new journey in life we wish her health and happiness, sprinkled with lots of fun!