Spend a little and help a lot at Girls Night Out

Where else can you go to buy nice things, spend a bit of money, maybe earn a prize, and help victims of domestic violence.

Downtown Poulsbo’s Girls Night Out.

Where else can you go to buy nice things, spend a bit of money, maybe earn a prize, and help victims of domestic violence.

Downtown merchants are getting ready for the event, from 4:40 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 6. It follows a similar event last May.

“Last May, the Girls Night Out was so successful that it just had to be repeated this fall,” said Pamela Bellesen, owner of the Wide Mouth Frog Studio.

She said she overheard a couple of ladies outside the shop talking about the upcoming Girls Night Out.

“One of them told her friend she remembered hearing at the May event that we would be doing this again in October and that she was excited to see it was really gonna happen because, a couple of months ago, she started setting some money aside for it.

“It made me feel so good about the women in our communities. We live in a big-hearted and giving county. People here care about each other and want to help in any way they can.”

The event is a fundraiser for the Morrow Manor, a domestic violence shelter being planned for Poulsbo. The shelter is expected to cost $2.1 million. Thus far, the Rotary has raised $1.1 million. The short plat was approved by the City of Poulsbo recently, and ground has been broken. The Morrow Manor will operate under the direction of the YWCA ALIVE domestic violence program.

As a survivor of domestic violence, the event has special meaning to Bellesen.

“I can’t state what that means to those trapped in the cycle of fear and self-doubt,” she said of a shelter. “Having a safe place to go, to take the children to, and begin to learn how to rebuild a healthy, independent and safe life will benefit our communities beyond our imagination.”

Girls Night Out raises funds in two ways. First, a $5 dollar donation is suggested for each “swag bag” the shoppers get when they first arrive.

“We are not ‘selling’ the bags, but asking for a donation for them,” she said. “There are 1,000 bags to be handed out and they all contain a different mix of give-aways and coupons from merchants.”

“We imagine ladies looking in their bags excitedly sharing the different things they got, maybe even trading items with each other,” she said. “ How fun.”

The second way funds are raised is from the merchants who are donating 10 percent of their sales during the event.

And then, there are the beads.

“When the ladies shop, they earn strands of beads based on the dollars they spend,” she said. “The more they shop, the more beads they earn. Beads are exchanged for raffle tickets for drawings of a number of gift baskets at the “after party.”

Shoppers should look for special icons that are tied to golden ticket give-away — a $100 shopping spree at participating merchants. This time there will be three golden ticket winners drawn.

The after party will begin at 8 p.m. at the One Ten Lounge. Prize drawings begin at approximately 8:30 p.m.

The slogan for Girls Night Out is “Shop a little tonight….Save a life tomorrow.”

“This can’t be a truer statement,” Bellesen said. “More than 100 women and children (needing shelter) are turned away every month in Poulsbo alone. That should be horrifying to all of us. But we have the opportunity to change that. And Girls Night Out is a very important step toward that goal.”

Thinking about her past, Bellesen said, organizing Girls Night Out has been so meaningful to her.

“Having this opportunity, to now give back to do something that helped save my life and changed it forever, it’s so rewarding,” she said.