The annual C.A.R.E. Ball is the top fundraiser for the Center for Abuse and Rape Emergencies and one of the premier events in Charlotte County. The ball was voted Harbor Style magazine’s “Harbor’s Hottest Fundraising Gala” in 2018, the sixth time it has earned that award.

The 31st C.A.R.E. Ball will be held on Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center in Punta Gorda. With “The Harlequin’s Dance” as the theme, you may rest assured that this year’s extravaganza will rival the elegance on display at the most recent balls – “Diamonds & Pearls,” “Enchanted Garden,” “A Night in Old Havana,” and “Road to Morocco.”

Festivities, including a silent auction, begin a 6 p.m. Organizers are expecting 700 people, so you may want to order your tickets soon. The deadline to purchase tickets is Jan. 17. Call 941-639-5499 or visit to order.

“John Wright, President of the Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce will once again, serve as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies,” said Kelly Liscum, chair of the C.A.R.E. Ball Committee.

“There will be a contest for best costume,” Liscum added, speaking to potential attendees, “so dress up, we are going to have fun.”

So while you shell out $135 for a single ticket or $1,350 for a table of 10, think of all the fun you’re going to have, the fantastic dinner, the open bar, the entertainment, and the fact that your purchase it tax deductible. Above all, think of all the good you are doing.

All proceeds from the ball go to furthering the nonprofit mission of C.A.R.E., which is to provide support to victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and other violent crimes in Charlotte County. C.A.R.E. operates a shelter for victims of domestic violence, provides 24/7 hospital response for sexual assault and participates in numerous community outreach events to promote healthy and safe relationships.

C.A.R.E. Chief Advancement Officer Linda Lusk sent a letter to potential donors over the holidays, noting that at the time of her writing:

Sixty-five adults and 75 children lived at the shelter in 2018.

1,369 crisis calls came into C.A.R.E.’s 24/7 Hotline/Helpline (“which is always answered by a live person,” Lusk wrote).

More than 1,400 calls for information were handled.

Advocates and volunteers made 58 hospital responses to support victim of sexual assault and domestic violence.

“The Center for Abuse and Rape Emergencies has been assisting victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and all victims of violent crime in Charlotte County for 37 years,” C.A.R.E. publicist Nanette Leonard noted in a press release. “Unfortunately, victim rates seldom go down.”

Charitable gifts are tax-exempt as defined by laws governing 501 ©(3) organizations. A legacy gift to C.A.R.E. can extend support for victims’ services into the future.

Donations of household goods, clothing, toys, books, etc. are received at C.A.R.E. ReUse Stores in Port Charlotte and Englewood. Items are provided free through C.A.R.E. to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, while sales at the ReUse Stores help fund the organization.

Always seeking volunteers, C.A.R.E. is inviting the public to an open house at the Englewood Outreach Office, 6868 San Casa Blvd., on Wednesday, Jan. 8 at 2 p.m. Attendees will discover the volunteer opportunities available at C.A.R.E., including hospital response assistance, answering hotline calls, serving in retail and more. Call the office (941-639-5499) for more information.

On Tuesday, Jan. 15, C.A.R.E. is offering free training on “power-based personal violence” from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Charlotte County Department of Health, 1100 Loveland Blvd., Port Charlotte. Attendees will learn how to identify power-based personal violence in all its forms – domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, bullying, child/elder/disabled abuse – and “ways to stop it in its tracks without putting yourself in a bad situation.”

Call or email Chris Hall at 941-979-7711,, to sign up.

Comments and suggestions are always welcome. Call Dan Mearns at 941-893-9692 or email


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