Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter Benefit

HANCOCK – The Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter has been committed to helping victims of domestic abuse for decades and this Sunday, it will be having a benefit fundraiser to make sure it can continue to provide those services.

Mary Niemala is executive director of the shelter and said she hopes the benefit will bring awareness to the community and raise some funds.

“There’s a suggested donation of $5 at the door,” she said. “There are no tickets people have to buy in advance. It’s a very casual event so people can come and go and sit and talk and listen to the music and look at the silent auction items. It should be a very nice afternoon.”

The event will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Niemala said Viney Willa will perform at the benefit, as well as Tom Katalin and Keweenaw County Sheriff Ron Lahti.

She thinks people should come out and attend the event because all the money that’s raised will be going to direct services for clients.

“We’re here 24/7, every day of the year,” Niemala said.

The shelter will be celebrating its 35th year of being a shelter, which highlights the fact that there is a need for a domestic abuse shelter in this area.

“I’ve been here for a little over 24 years and it’s still going on,” she said. “There’s a definite need for domestic violence (support). It’s evident in the paper, you read it in the police logs, you hear about it in the news. It’s not just what happens to the celebrities and the NFL. It’s all over. It’s your neighbor, it can happen to anybody. We need to keep talking about it at all levels of society.”

This Sunday will mark the seventh year a benefit fundraiser has been held, but this is only the fourth year it’s been at the Orpheum.

“It’s a nice venue for that.”

The turnout has also been good.

“It’s probably less than 100 people, but they come and go so it’s hard to keep track.”

In addition to the benefit, there are many other events the shelter has planned. There will be a Friends of the Shelter mail campaign and then in May the Keweenaw Path will be held in Eagle Harbor, which will be done to raise awareness for the shelter. Then in the beginning of August there will be the golf scamble and in September a dinner will be held to celebrate 35 years of being a funded shelter.

“There are a lot of activities and a lot of things to talk about,” she said.

For the benefit this Sunday, though, there’s not a set amount of money Niemala is hoping to raise.

“We’re grateful for whatever we get. It’s always been a very nice event. We’ve never been disappointed,” Niemala said.