The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 12 No. 2 - October 26, 2011


She wants to help the victims


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

SUN PHOTO/TOM VAUGHT Niki Barker, right, owner of
Niki's Island Treasures in Holmes Beach, is working
with Laurel Lynch, left, of HOPE Family Services, to
help raise money for the not-for-profit organization.

HOLMES BEACH – Debra Barker wants to give back to the community of women and children to whom domestic violence is a sad part of their lives.

The owner of Niki's Island Treasures, 5351 Gulf Drive, got together with Laurel Lynch, who heads HOPE Family Services, to put together what she calls a fundraiser and a friend raiser.

"I hope to bring businesses together for this cause," she said. "To kick it off, I would like them to each take a donation jar to collect money and have a whole list of items they could use at HOPE."

HOPE Family Services is a not-for-profit organization for victims of domestic violence. They offer counseling and shelter for victims of violence, whether they are a woman, a man or children. When a woman, for instance, leaves a violent situation with her husband and takes her children, it's a big step. She can stay at an undisclosed shelter until she gets her life together.

The of items being collected list includes canned and non-perishable food, clothing for women and children including night gowns and cold weather wear, feminine hygiene items, gently used children's books, blankets, size 4 and 5 diapers and baby items such as non-spill cups, baby bottlers and highchairs. They also need baby food, small furniture for children, wall decorations for the center, twin sized linens, blankets, pillows and more.

"Anything you might need if you left home with only the clothes on your back," said Lynch.

"Niki's is open seven days a week, so you can bring larger items here," Barker said.

Barker said she is depending on her customers to help.

"We have great women who shop here and I am asking them to give," she said. "My store is a safe place for all and I'm trying to spread that out."

The campaign is kicking off at the right time since October is Domestic Violence Prevention month.

Barker said she will be making special anklets and donors will get one free. Lynch said she is grateful for this effort and she extends a hand to those who have never heard of her organization.

"If you are somebody in a bad situation who needs help, log onto Make sure you use a secure computer to look them up, since your actions on the Internet could be documented by the computer for a violent spouse to find.

Debra Barker and Laurel Lynch hope everyone takes time to consider helping this cause. In addition to donations, they also need help. Call Debra at 962-1954.

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