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Good Soup
Supporting Room One

photoElana Mainer, Executive Director of Room One. Photo by Ramona Beltran

Each year Room One, the local non-profit social services resource center, schedules its major community fund-raiser in October, which is national Domestic Violence Awareness month. Tickets are now on sale for the sixth annual Soup Dinner at the Barn in Winthrop on Oct. 27. But there is a new voice of advocacy in the valley this year – Elana Mainer, who became Room One’s executive director five months ago.

Mainer was the guest speaker at a recent social services roundtable meeting. She was asked to answer the question, "What does domestic violence look like here in the Methow?" Mainer defined domestic violence as being "about power and control." It can take the form of neglect, verbal abuse or physical assault, she explained. And she shared this statistic: "Less than one percent of people in an abusive relationship come to a Room One for help," according to the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Nevertheless, Room One typically sees new clients every month and October was no exception.

“Domestic violence doesn’t affect just one person,” Mainer said. “It affects everyone in the family ... It’s accelerated by stress. Here [in the Methow Valley] a root cause of stress is poverty.”

Mainer shared as an example that “four teenagers started school this year in homelessness ... More than 50 percent of high school students here qualify for free and reduced-price lunch ... It’s hard for us to realize that there is a food-access problem here, but there is,” she added.

photoBowls painted at summer events have been glazed and fired by local potters to be sold at the Room One soup dinner and masquerade. Photo by Jackie Hovis.

“I think of Room One as an anti-violence organization,” Mainer said, explaining that if a young man grows up in an abusive household it increases his chances of becoming a perpetrator. For young women, the chances of being a victim are increased. For all young people the risks rise for alcohol and drug dependency. Academic achievement also suffers.

Mainer said Room One’s goal is “to get upstream of those stresses,” which is why it offers and supports programs to help young people. Among those she cited:

  • Two girls’ groups that meet weekly - one for junior high girls, the other for high school girls - to help them address at-home stress and to support their academic success
  • Annual classes on healthy relationships for junior high and high school students
  • Sex education classes for high school students
  • The Red Shed program that teaches young people how to cook nutritious meals

Asked whether a neighbor who suspects abuse should get involved, Mainer said, “Being a nosy neighbor is so important to disrupting the cycle of abuse.” She suggested calling local police or Room One. If children are involved, the police can respond by doing a “well-child check,” she said.

As for this year’s soup dinner, which typically raises about one-quarter of Room One’s annual budget, Mainer said, “We have to shoot for a higher fund-raising goal than in the past.” That’s because Room One is paying $10,000 a year to provide a mental health counselor for uninsured clients. Government budget cuts eliminated service previously available.

Mainer also told the roundtable group that three anonymous donors are matching all donations of $150 or more made to Room One between now and the end of the soup dinner evening.


Soup Dinner Details

The sixth annual Soup Dinner and Masquerade evening (costumes optional) begins at 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Barn in Winthrop.

Tickets are $35 each, which includes a soup bowl and meal of locally made soups and bread.

Premium tickets are $60 each and include first choice of bowls and a drink ticket.

The bowls are painted at parties held throughout the year.

Tickets are on sale at Room One and Daily Business in Twisp, Riverside Printing in Winthrop and online at:

The evening includes a dessert frenzy, a no-host bar and live music by DJ Noah Constrictor.

Early bids for a silent auction of bowls painted by local artists can be placed at the Confluence Gallery in Twisp and the Winthrop Gallery and Glassworks in Winthrop.



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