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Homelessness.

Although many choose to ignore it, it’s a very real problem in our country. Unfortunately, the thing we don’t always realize is that the homeless are just like us. They are women with children, people with disabilities and veterans. Perhaps they have lost their homes to fires or due to the loss of a job, and all they need is a helping hand to get back on their feet. Our new charitable organization, DirectEmployers Serves (DE Serves), strives to help them do just that.

On Thursday, November 1, DE Serves hosted its first annual masquerade ball, Unmasking the Homeless. The event was organized to not only get the word out about our new and exciting endeavor, but also to raise funds and build awareness for the growing homelessness epidemic–not just in Indianapolis, but nationwide.

Approximately 60 individuals from our community attended the event, dressed in beautiful suits and gowns, and of course, masks. After a delightful cocktail hour, the guests participated in many games and competitions including a “Best Mask” contest, ‘Unmask the Celebrity’ guessing game in which all of the celebrities included had found themselves homeless at some point in their lives, and various other fun activities. There was also a ‘Courtesy Bag’ station where attendees filled baggies with socks, bottles of water, tissues, crackers, and other items. These courtesy bags are now available to DirectEmployers staff, family and friends to hand out on the streets of Indianapolis as winter weather arrives.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the evening was the silent auction where more than 30 items were up for grabs to the highest bidder. Ranging from tropical getaways to wine, jewelry, gift certificates and more, the attendees engaged in friendly competition, watching their items and outbidding their friends to secure their prize. The evening wrapped up with dancing, more networking and a great time had by all.

In the end, DE Serves raised over $6,000, with the proceeds to be used to fund programs like the Tiny Act of Kindness initiative and others that benefit those in need within our communities. The evening was an opportunity for friends, co-workers, and advocates to gather and enjoy themselves in flowing gowns and glittery masks but we think our attendees took a little more away from the event by the night’s end. We hope that this event was the first step in helping “unmask” the public and shed light on the homelessness problem in America. This may have been our first event, but it’s only the beginning for DE Serves. Stay tuned for additional events and opportunities to get involved in our cause!

Kacie Clark is a Marketing Manager specializing in social media and communications for DirectEmployers Association.

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