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Monday, Aug. 24, 2020

Home for Hope


Oakwood Home for Women a place of safety

A beautiful, historic home in the Highland Neighborhood sits prominently on the corner of Highland Avenue and Wyandotte Street. The original owners of this striking, two story house built in 1914 could never have imagined how this home would change the lives of more than 1,400 women.

Located at 1700 Highland Ave., Oakwood Home for Women is more than just another house. Executive Director Jane Rowell says it’s a place of safety and security for women who wish to rebuild their lives from alcoholism and addiction.

“Oakwood has been helping women for 46 years, changing the lives of women and their families for the better,” said Rowell.

Every year in August, Oakwood hosts its annual fundraiser for operations of the home.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed many things, we had to adapt our annual fundraising banquet,” said Board President Eric Massey. “This year, our annual fundraiser is an online auction and giving opportunity, and our goal is to raise $50,000.”

The once-200-person, sit-down, plated dinner banquet with speakers and auction has gone virtual. The Worthy Women of Oakwood 2020 Online Auction is live now, and people can view the items, make a donation and buy raffle tickets by visiting www.charityauction.bid/oakwood2020.

Bidding for the auction items began Aug. 24 and culminates on Aug. 29 at 6 p.m. with a Facebook live event on Oakwood’s Facebook page. Similar to the traditional banquet, the Facebook event will feature testimonials from past and current residents of the home. Many businesses and individuals have also sponsored the event, just like the traditional banquet, including Diamond sponsors Lincoln Nova Vital Recovery, The Jess Merkle Foundation, and other businesses and individuals.

“We are very grateful for the support from the community,” said Massey.

All auction and raffle items are donated, and proceeds benefit the operations of the home for the coming year. Auction items range from a seven-day stay in a Destin condo; a matted, framed and laser-engraved autographed album of The Beatles; designer purses; shopping packages; and an LSU Championship wall display autographed by Joe Burrow. Bidding ends at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29. To register to bid, visit www.charityauction.bid/oakwood2020. Raffle tickets can also be purchased to win a grill donated by Fireplace Specialties, a 50-inch TV and other prizes. Raffle tickets are $5 each or five for $20.

A 501C3 nonprofit organization, the home receives no money from state, federal or local governments. It is supported solely from private donations from businesses, organizations, and individuals. There is a nominal fee for room and board; however, Rowell said no one is turned away due to inability to pay.

“These are women who have demonstrated a sincere desire to restore their lives to productive and responsible endeavors,” said Rowell.

Oakwood was founded by the leadership of St. Luke’s Methodist Church in 1974 by Sister Mary Germaine and the Rev. James Poole. Oakwood is a temporary home which provides an atmosphere of understanding and help from other residents, volunteers and others in the community.

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