Top local female performers, including Amanda Shaw, Charmaine Neville, the Pussyfooters and Sula, from Zion Trinity, all will be under the same roof — at Café Istanbul — from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Oct. 2 to raise money and show their support for Hagar’s House.
The evening event is called Women Performing for Women and, in addition to music and dance performances, it will include a silent auction and food from local restaurants such as The Ruby Slipper, Katie’s, Neyow’s and Gracious Bakery.
“We’re a small organization with a small annual budget and this is our only big annual fundraiser,” said Angela Davis, director of Hagar’s House, which, since opening in 2007, has helped more than 150 women and children successfully transition out of homelessness.
“Back in 2007, there were an estimated 12,000 people without homes around the city,” Davis said of the organization’s beginnings. “There were literally hundreds in what they called tent city across from City Hall.
“We at First Grace United Methodist Church were asked by some local organizations if we could help. We had this room that we used to house volunteers for temporary housing. That one room was the beginning of Hagar’s House.”
The organization quickly outgrew its one-room locale and now operates out of a home in Mid-City that houses seven or eight adults and five to 10 children at a time.
Promoted as a “sanctuary for women and children,” Hagar’s House is more than just temporary housing. Davis says the nonprofit works hard to provide those in need with a welcoming atmosphere and offers programming focused on addressing the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of each resident, along with healthy food and space to plant in a community garden.
Davis said a girl, about to turn 8 years old, who used to live in Hagar’s House with her mother and little brother, handed her a letter written in blue crayon describing the house.
“I love Hagar’s House … I live there not anymore, but … they know that I will always be a part of them. … The ladies that chose to live there made a good choice. Children can play, and they have fun. So … if you can’t find a house to live in, then go to Hagar’s House.”
Part of what may help the residents feel at home is the fact that they know they’ll never be asked to leave.
“We don’t set a time limit on how long someone can stay,” Davis said. “It’s really about working with each person when they come in and helping them figure out what their plan is.”
Davis acknowledges that Hagar’s House is one of many local organizations dedicated to serving women and children without a home.
“The sad fact is that even with all of us together, we still can’t meet this city’s need,” she said. “We’re all in contact with each other and we’re all full. And if a space does happen to open up, I can tell you it gets filled immediately.”
Tickets for Women Performing for Women are available online at hagarshousenola.org or at the door. Tickets cost $40 per person or $75 for a couple and include food.