Although they wish their services weren’t needed, the YWCA of Central Alabama is there for those breaking the cycle of domestic violence.

Honored to provide a safe salvation for women and children escaping violent home lives, the YWCA hosted its fifth Purse & Passion’s St. Clair County luncheon.

In order to offer this haven for these individuals it takes money and annual supporters like those who attend the Purse & Passion luncheon.

This year’s event was no different as community supporters joined forces to contribute over $70,000 to assist with “Our Place.”

Since Our Place opened its doors in 2009, 137 women along with 106 children and 4,977 domestic violence victims have received shelter/assistance through the St. Clair County Court Advocacy Program.

“We would love to go out of business tomorrow because society doesn’t need us,” said Suzanne Durham, CEO for YWCA Central Alabama. “Unfortunately that’s not the case, and that’s why we’re here today.”

The YWCA also honored Judge Phil Seay for his support in their efforts to establish a confidential shelter in St. Clair County.

Humbled by the jester Seay took a moment to speak to the crowd.

“Justice delayed is justice denied,” Seay said. “We need to get to healing to move our community forward.”

This year’s keynote speaker was unable to voice her story of survival as she lost her life due to domestic violence.

Instead, domestic violence victim Nicole’s mother, Ellen Cannon of Moody, helped share her daughter’s story so others could learn the value of leaving a bad situation.

“We got our life sentence when we lost our daughter,” Cannon said. “It took him a year-and-a-half to receive his. Thank you for allowing us to share Nicole’s story with you. We hope to not only help rebuild, but save lives. Nicole loved everybody. She just loved people.”

Striving to make every home a safe home in St. Clair County the YWCA will continue hosting its annual Purse & Passion event as long as people need their support.

Continuing to lift up the community Durham said, “The power in connecting the dots comes through networking.”

Because a previous victim wasn’t allowed to buy glasses Durham solicited female optimists and dentists to provide eye exams, eyewear and complimentary dental work.

Dr. Virginia “Ginny” Gauld, Luncheon Chair for Purse & Passion St. Clair said to the fundraiser crowd, “We share in the pain and the pride. Give generously from your heart. Thank you for being here and sharing of your wealth with us. Because of your generosity and support, your purse and passion, the YWCA will be able to provide vital services to women and children who are victims of domestic violence. The support of this community has been phenomenal.”

On a mission of “promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all,” the YWCA continues its vision “to create a more caring community.”

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