Community comes together for 3rd Annual iCare Event

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3/KSPR) - Harmony House will bring the issue of domestic violence to the public eye with their third annual iCare event on October 27.

More than 400 businesses and individuals have joined Harmony House this year to say “iCare” about domestic violence and about working to help those impacted by it. Participants throughout the community will wear a symbolic “black eye” and a lapel sticker that says “Ask me why iCare”. The Director of Development with Harmony House said the response from the community over the past three year's has grown immensely. "It's been overwhelmingly positive," said Esther Munch. "Domestic violence is effecting all of us, the effects on the workplace, alone, annually is about $1.8 billion." She added that people see those ripple effects. "We are all being effected daily. It may be in our workplace, it may be in our schools where children are not able to learn because maybe they were up all night listening to shouting and afraid."

Munch also said this event has made it easier for people to come forward and get the help they need. "We have several of our businesses that contact us that say 'Hey, I have a staff member that didn't know there was help.' or 'I had a customer come in and asked me about this iCare event and now they know where to find help.' So it's really a win win for all of the participants."

A first-time participant in the iCare event are local McDonald's locations. The local owner and operator, Teresa McGeehan, talked about why this is important to her. "I'm sure we have employees, customers, friends and family that have either been directly impacted or indirectly impacted by domestic violence," she said. "We just wanted to make a stand as local business-women and men to support Harmony House and iCare and try to put an end to this epidemic of domestic violence."

Employees from participating businesses will also be hosting fundraising events to help raise funds to help those who have made the decision to leave their abuser have access to safe shelter and support services. Many of the fundraising efforts will be open to the public, some of them are listed below.

- City Utilities will be hosting a 5K or 10K Walk/Run on October 28th called the Halloween Hustle
- Southwest Center for Independent Living will be hosting a chili cookoff on Friday, October 27th
- The Pitch Pizza & Pub will be rounding up tickets upon request through October 27th
- Black Sheep is donating 500 burgers to be sold at Mercy Hospital on Friday, October 27th
- Metropolitan Grill will be hosting a celebrity bartender event on Wednesday, October 25 at 5 p.m.
- Arvest Bank will sell black eye stickers to the public on Friday, October 27th
- Norman’s Bridal will donate a percentage of sales through October 27th

Harmony House is located at 3404 East Ridgeview in Springfield, the phone number is 417-837-7700. Esther Munch says there is still time to participate for those area businesses that are interested. harmony House has been at full capacity since September, filling all 168 of their beds at their new location.