Waretown women “carry light to a dark place” in benefit for Catholic Charities domestic violence services

Five years ago, a group of golf-loving ladies from tiny Waretown down the shore decided to organize a golf outing to support Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton’s Providence House of Ocean County, wanting to help a local nonprofit that touches many lives. That first effort raised $10,100, an impressive sum in itself. But fast forward five years, and be prepared to be bowled over: They have raised almost $80,000 altogether to help thousands of people find safety and stability after the trauma of domestic violence.

Last week, the women – from the Greenbriar Oceanaire Golf and Country Club – visited Providence House in Whiting to deliver a check from their most recent annual luncheon and golf outing. The benefit, held June 14, was the most successful in its five-year history, raising $21,000 for Providence House. Each year since 2014, the fundraiser’s proceeds have grown, totaling $78,225 of donations altogether to support our services.

Golf outing organizers Betty Fedyna, Bonnie Morris and Berti Avery presented this year’s check (pictured, right) on July 2 to Mary Pettrow, associate director of the Providence Houses in Ocean and Burlington counties, and Jennifer Bauer, community affairs manager of Providence House-Ocean.

Previously, the Greenbriar Oceanaire Women’s Club raised money for other causes, such as breast cancer research and awareness. But in 2014, they toured Providence House’s offices and safe house and decided to focus their efforts there, becoming a “Partner in Peace” for Providence House.

Morris, a retired Neptune Township School District administrator, said she felt driven to help after learning how domestic violence transcends class, race and other lines.

“It’s all around us,” Morris said, remembering a neighbor who credited Providence House with saving her daughter’s life. “It’s hidden but it’s there.”

Greenbriar Oceanaire Golf and Country Club is the centerpiece of an active adult community of about 1,400 homes that sprawl over 900 acres. To maximize the fundraiser’s impact, the club waived greens and cart fees, and members of the community’s Men’s Club also lent a hand. Besides raising money through raffles and tickets to the luncheon and golf outing, the women also asked residents to donate financially. The residents really came through.

“Every single street donated something,” Avery said, adding that $5,600 of the fundraiser’s proceeds came from that effort alone.

About 155 people attended the luncheon, where Pettrow spoke about Providence House services.

Having that platform to talk about a health crisis that is often stigmatized was invaluable, Pettrow said.

“It’s important for us to share our message, to tell the women in that room that domestic violence is not OK, it’s not your fault, it’s no longer a family secret, and we stand with you,” Pettrow said. “Everyone has the right to live in peace. We are here to help you.”

Turning to Morris, Avery and Fedyna, she added: “You don’t know what spark you lit. You’re carrying light into a very dark place. You have absolutely saved someone’s life.”

How you can help: There are many ways to be a Partner in Peace, including making a financial donation, holding a fundraiser, or conducting a drive. Providence House will provide you with detailed information and personalized resources to get you started. By partnering with us, you will sustain our free and confidential services and assist us in helping those whose lives are affected by domestic abuse. With your partnership, we will move one step closer to fulfilling our mission to make peace in every home a reality. For more information please contact Jennifer Bauer at (732) 350-2120.

A deeper look: Watch our video on common domestic violence myths.

For more information, contact: Mary Pettrow, associate director, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton Providence House Domestic Violence Services, at mpettrow@cctrenton.org or (856) 824-0599, ext. 8609 or (732) 350-2120, ext. 8415; or Dana DiFilippo, communications, at ddifilippo@cctrenton.org or (609) 394-5181, ext. 1153.

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