DADE CITY — Sunrise of Pasco County is asking for Christmas gifts — and artwork.
The gifts are for families who have gone through domestic violence or sexual assault. Each year, Sunrise — a nonprofit organization based in Dade City dedicated to helping people who have lived through domestic violence or sexual assault — asks volunteers to adopt a family for Christmas. There are at least two families at the shelter this year who have not yet been adopted, said Christina Bates, social change community organizer with Sunrise.
Any gifts — or food items for Christmas baskets — would "help so much," she said.
Sunrise also is asking for submissions of artwork, which will be auctioned off after the last performance of The Vagina Monologues, which is slated for 7 p.m. on Feb. 20-21. The play will be at The Groves Golf & Country Club, 7924 Melogold Circle in Land O'Lakes.
The theme is "changing the story of women," and the group is asking for the art to fit into the theme. The art itself can be anything — paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, pottery, embroidery, etc. — as well as all shapes and sizes. They ask for the work to be signed and that the artist include a brief statement about the piece — why it was created, what it means, the artist's story, if he or she wants to share.
"We want this event to be empowering," Bates said. Sunrise hosted a performance of The Vagina Monologues — the popular play by Eve Ensler — two years ago in Dade City. Ten percent of the proceeds go toward V-Day, which is Ensler's nonprofit organization that helps to stop violence against women and girls worldwide.
Last year, V-Day helped female victims of Hurricane Katrina. This year, the funds helped women in the Congo. The rest of the proceeds go toward Sunrise, a local organization. Last year, Sunrise housed more than 200 women and children in their emergency shelters.
For information on adopting Sunrise families for Christmas or on donating artwork, call the organization at (352) 521-3358. Advance tickets for The Vagina Monologues are $25.
The play has been cast, but Sunrise still needs volunteers to help with scenery, makeup and other areas.
Sunrise began in 1982 and provides a range of services — from legal help to support groups — to those who have dealt with domestic violence or sexual assault. If you need help — regardless of whether your experience was recent or many years past — call their hotlines, which are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The sexual assault hotline is (888) 668-7273 and their domestic violence hotline is (352) 521-3120. Their Web site is http://sunrisepasco.org.
Erin Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 909-4609.