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Grace Place hosting dinner to raise funds

"Some people don't know who we are."

Duana Bremer, director of Grace Place in Somerset, said she was shocked when she heard some community members ask her what the facility did.

"We're the only 24-hour staffed homeless shelter in five counties," Bremer said.

Bremer is determined to enlighten people -- and feed them at the same time.

Grace Place is hosting a dinner and silent auction Thursday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Hudson Country Club. For $20/ticket, attendees can arrive for social hour at 6 p.m., followed by a chicken dinner at 7 p.m. The keynote speaker toward the end of the meal will be Tamara "Tami" DeMar, a current Grace Place employee who will talk about her path from meth addiction to self-sufficiency.

Bremer stressed that the fundraising event is needed to support the increased need at the facility.

"Our expenses have risen without us adding anything," Bremer said, citing the increase in gasoline as adversely affecting their transportation services. "We already have seven people on our waiting list; we've had to turn three away."

The facility services St. Croix County and Polk County residents. All the money Grace Place receives stays at Grace Place.

"It doesn't go into the Cities, it stays here to help our friends, neighbors," Bremer said.

Grace Place can house up to 24 people at one time; they are currently at capacity - eight of them are children.

Residents are allowed to stay up to 90 days. During that time, they receive meals and lodging, as well as job coaching, finding employment and tutoring program for children. As a condition of stay, Grace Place will also refer them to the appropriate support group.

Bremer believes getting the word out about what Grace Place accomplishes is beneficial.

"The last article written in the New Richmond News (about the facility's lack of funds) was clipped out and sent to us by a reader, along with a check for $500," Bremer said.

For more information about Grace Place, contact 715-247-2944.