More about the fundraiser for SafeHouse Center from Ari Weinzweig, Co-founder of Zingerman's:
I don’t know if you’ve ever had a dog or a cat? Or for that matter a bird or snake or any other animal that you’ve gotten close to? We had dogs at home but only when I was a little kid, but then I lived—just fine of course—without dogs up until... I think it was 1998. That’s when we got Jelly Bean, a little cute, black, white and brown Corgi puppy. I won’t bore you with too many details but she and I had a very good life together. For most of her 17 years, we went running together, hung out together through hard times and good times, survived multiple surgeries (both hers and mine)... If you’ve had an animal in your life you understand the bond that builds. As many of you know who’ve been here for a while already know, Jelly Bean died at the end of May 2015. If you’ve lost someone important in your life—human, canine, feline or otherwise—in your life you know it’s not a good feeling. When Jelly Bean died I wanted to take the sadness and turn it toward something positive, something to honor her positive contribution to my life, and really to the life of so many others over the years (including thousands of folks who saw us running on Clark Rd. together—I still get people stopping me in town to ask about her.)
The next fall we started thinking about doing a fundraiser in her memory for SafeHouse Center. We live across the street from SafeHouse so all the folks who worked there knew who she was. Grace from the Deli served on the board for many years. Clearly, it’s a good cause—it provides a safe haven for women and children who are otherwise trapped in abusive homes. Plus, the spirit of positivity and generosity that Jelly Bean demonstrated every day is also what SafeHouse is all about. And that’s how the Jelly Bean Jump Up got started. We pulled the first together in February of 2015. We had “drop your change” boxes in all the ZCOB businesses; our friends at Probility Physical Therapy did the same in all their clinics. Mail Order their first Friday booty bin donation for it. It went well. Some folks went on the SafeHouse Center website and donated directly. I think we raised over $4000.
As well as it went for the first time through, there were two things about it that I didn’t realize made the project even more appropriate than I’d thought. I didn’t realize when we began the work, how many people that I knew—both in the ZCoB and out—would come to me, and quietly tell me how much they appreciated that we were raising money for Safe House because they themselves had grown up in abusive homes and understood firsthand how much it mattered to have a safe place to go. Which reminded me of what I should I have already remembered—that abuse in the home is far more common than most of the world would like to think. And that the people who are impacted by it are often parts of otherwise successful families, people who don’t show the signs of what they’re suffering through, people who often don’t want to say anything about what’s going. And yet, still need help. SafeHouse gives that help. Nor did I realize, until I talked more to some of the folks at SafeHouse how positive a role that pets play in the lives of women and children who have been victims of abuse. So, in that sense too, honoring Jelly Bean was, even more, an appropriate act than I even knew when we first had the idea to do the fundraiser.