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Peace Tree program supports Peace House

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which means it’s a special time for Peace House.

Earlier this week, the nonprofit organization dedicated to wiping out domestic violence in Summit and Wasatch Counties, held a candlelight vigil last Tuesday at the Kimball Art Center’s east patio to remember Utah victims, and it is currently collecting donations for its annual Bling Fling fundraiser sale that will be held in November.

"Domestic Violence Awareness Month is worldwide and it’s a very busy time in the United States," Peace House Executive Director Jane Patten said during an interview with The Park Record. "There are events going on every day and that’s exciting."

While preparations for the Bling Fling are well underway, another local business, Gallery MAR, has created a new way to raise awareness and donate items to Peace House.

Gallery owner Maren Mullin has conceived the Peace Tree, a little cardboard sculpture that is adorned with paper ornaments that represent items that will be donated to Peace House.

"The Peace Tree is a new opportunity to put together donations for Peace House, but also do a little outreach on its behalf through the gallery, our newsletter and social media," Mullin said to The Park Record. "With any purchase of any amount that people make at the gallery, they will be able to select an ornament that hangs on the Peace Tree."

Mullin, on behalf of her clients, buys the items and gives them to Peace House to distribute to those who are using its shelter.

"I will let Peace House know who the items are from, unless my clients want to donate anonymously," she said.

The items are simple — diapers, deodorant and pillows, to name a few.

"I was snooping around on their website earlier this year and noticed they had a big list of items that they needed," Mullin said. "I was shocked to see that the items were things that many of us take for granted every day.

"It was just ridiculous, because a nonprofit in Park City should have these simple things," she said. "So I went out and bought a whole bunch of stuff and mailed the package to them. I then realized that it’s one thing to have one person do this and have a tiny impact, and it’s another to have many people do this and have a bigger impact."

So, Mullin decided to go one step further and involve her clients

"I knew I could certainly let locals and out-of-town guests who come into the gallery know about Peace House," she said. "This is a way to let people know that we have this wonderful nonprofit that does amazing good day in and day out and they are mostly unrecognized."

Mullin contacted Patten and told her the plan.

"I think Maren has come up with an interesting concept to help us," Patten said. "The thing we really like is that she worked with us to make sure we were all on the same page.

"We loved the idea and knew Maren would execute the fundraiser beautifully," she said. "It is so impressive and the items that people can choose from the Peace Tree that our families need at our shelter. So, that means Gallery MAR is personally supporting the families at Peace House."

Patten said the fundraiser came at the right time.

"We serve an awful amount of people and the demand is not reducing," she said. "We have seen an increase particularly in our helpline calls."

Last year, 110 adults and their children stayed at the Peace House shelter for an approximate and collective total of 2,800 nights and more than 200 family members, which include adults and children, are part of the organization’s outreach program, according to Patten.

"We believe it’s because domestic violence is an issue that people are now willing to address," she said. "This is a community that is not fearful of doing that, and we appreciate the support from the community.

"Gallery MAR has been very kind and supportive of Peace House," Patten said. "Many people think of Peace House and other nonprofit organizations during the winter, close to the holidays and our needs are year-round."

Mullin was more than happy to start the program.

"I wanted to do this because we always think of these charities and nonprofits during the holidays, but the items Peace House needs are things that are used every day," she said. "I thought we would do this until the end of the month, but I think we’re going to continue through Thanksgiving. I want to involve as many folks as possible."

For more information about the Peace Tree program, visit Gallery MAR, 436 Main St., or call 435-649-3001. For more information about Peace House, visit http://www.peacehouse.org.


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