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Virtual 5K this week, last week’s balloon release brings awareness of domestic violence

Monday, Oct. 20

Laurens County, South Carolina – For a dozen years the Laurens County Safe Home has used its annual Bring One Wear One banquet in October to replenish its supplies of packaged undergarments, and to raise awareness about the scourge of domestic violence in our state and county.

In lieu of the banquet and its usual candle lighting ceremony recognizing the domestic violence victims killed in the state last year, the Safe Home of Laurens County held a balloon release last week in front of its charity thrift store, “Our Little Shop.”

The purple balloons released last Thursday were in remembrance of 36 women and six men who lost their lives as victims of domestic violence in 2019 in South Carolina. A single white ballon represented the Silent Victims, those who were unknown but who also died at the hands of their intimate partners.

Also to assist the Laurens County Safe Home is a Voices Against Violence Virtual 5K fundraising event sponsored by the Young Lawyers Division of the South Carolina Bar.

For a $25 donation, participants have three days, from Oct. 23-25, to complete a 5K and to support the Safe Home.

“To prove completion of the race, you will be asked to post a picture to the SC Bar YLD social media pages using the hashtag, #VAVVirtual5K,” Ardelt said.

Ardelt gave a brief synopsis of the Safe Home’s events and current needs earlier last week to the commissioners of the Laurens Commission of Public Works, and the group voted unanimously to donate $3,000 toward a $75,000 matching grant the Laurens County Safe Home has been offered. Days after learning that it had been offered the large matching grant, the Safe Home building caught fire and a portion was burned, adding to the financial strain which had already been heightened because of COVID-19.

“Even before the fire we were having to house families in hotels in order to socially distance, which was a serious strain, and now to get the Safe Home up to modern codes will far exceed our insurance,” Ardelt said.

The Laurens County Safe Home temporarily housed about 200 families last year and provided a variety of assistance to 900 families in three counties.

Those who would like to participate in the Virtual 5K can get tickets at Eventbrite, and by searching VAV Virtual 5K for tickets and instructions. The $25 donation goes to the Safe Home to help with rebuilding efforts and includes a T-shirt. To register go to .

To help the Safe Home directly, go to its website for the donate button at, or send checks to Laurens County Safe Home, P.O. Box 744 Clinton, SC 29325.

See more about victims who were encouraged by, impacted by the Safe Home and the balloon release in this Wednesday, Oct. 21, issue of the Laurens County Advertiser.

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