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WOMEN IN DISTRESS: 40 Years and Counting

The ninth annual “Starfish Luncheon” will close out a milestone 40th anniversary celebration for Women In Distress.

The event will take place 11 a.m. May 13 at Signature Grand in Davie. Community philanthropists Sun Capital Partners Foundation and The Leo Goodwin Foundation will be honored at the event, as will a survivor of domestic violence.

This annual event helps Women In Distress provide critical services to families affected by domestic violence. Proceeds from last year’s luncheon provided more than 1,900 nights of safe shelter to women, men and children who were fleeing from an abusive situation.

“We’re so proud to honor those who have helped us in our efforts to keep families safe these 40 years, while raising awareness for an issue that all too often remains behind closed doors,” said Mary Riedel, president and CEO. “This event gives us an opportunity to hear first-hand from survivors and learn how lives can be transformed with support from our community.”

More than 500 guests are expected to attend the luncheon that begins at 11 a.m. with a silent auction. The program will follow at noon. The luncheon’s theme is inspired by Loren Eisley’s “The Star Thrower,” which celebrates how each of us has the ability to make a difference in the life of someone else.

Karen Leikert is chairing this year’s luncheon. The presenting sponsor is Wells Fargo. Event sponsors include Lorraine Thomas, JM Family Enterprises and Southeast Toyota Distributors, ADT, Thomas Family Foundation, Sun Sentinel, Miami Dolphins, The Thomas Family Foundation, Rick Case Automotive Group, Signature Grand, Publix Super Markets Charities, Patriot National, Holy Cross Hospital, and Comerica.

Founded in 1974, Women In Distress is one of the largest and oldest among the 42 domestic violence centers in Florida. Its 24-hour crisis line receives the highest number of calls of any domestic violence center in the state. The organization offers comprehensive services to both adults and children who are survivors of domestic abuse including counseling, therapy, advocacy and emergency shelter. All services are free and confidential. Women In Distress also has an extensive education and prevention program working with schools, law enforcement, the court system, healthcare, businesses and community groups.

Tickets to the “Starfish Luncheon” are $85. For more information, visit or call 954-760-9800, ext. 1244.


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