It all started with a horseback ride.
Kelly Boeve and a friend -- who had been viciously attacked by a boyfriend six weeks earlier -- were riding and talking. Boeve asked her friend how she was doing.
“She said she was OK, she was recovering. But she needed to buy some new sheets for her bed because the attack had left them blood-stained,” Boeve said.
That revelation and the fact that her friend couldn’t afford new sheets sparked the Manatee woman to begin a Christmas mission to help victims of domestic violence by providing them with the welcoming comfort of new bed linens.
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As an interior designer with her own business, Orange Moon Interiors, Boeve had a number of well-off clients who frequently changed out their bedding for new colors and styles.
“So instead of giving the old ones to Goodwill, I decided they would go to Hope Family Services,” she said.
The Bradenton shelter for domestic violence victims welcomed the help.
When the 400-plus women and children who come through the shelter every year leave to start a new life, they take their bed linens with them.
“People are starting over so they have nothing,” said Laurel Lynch, executive director of the shelter. “There is a constant need for bedding.” Something as simple as a nice, clean bed is a great gift for these women who have dealt with physical and emotional abuse, she said.
“It seems like such a basic thing in life, I know I don’t think twice about having a nice, fluffy bed to lie down in,” Lynch said.
Boeve formed a nonprofit called Bedding Blessings with the slogan “your bed is your best friend.” Clients, friends and even strangers have donated new or gently used pillows, sheets and comforters to the cause.
This is the third year for the Christmas donations and Boeve is hoping it will be the best. She is working to gather the $300 or so to register the nonprofit as a tax-exempt 501(c)3 with the idea it will increase donations.
Most of her donations come from word-of-mouth. Last year she got a call from an elderly man living in a nursing home who had two new pillows to donate.
“He really wanted to help,” she said. “He said, ‘My daughter was a victim of domestic violence.’”
Boeve now has taken on a larger fundraiser.
She is making plans for a bike run for Home Family Services -- “put your kickstands up against domestic violence.”
She hopes to have all the details worked out in the next month for the event. She already has some sponsors like Budweiser and has a T-shirt designed she hopes to sell for $20 a piece to raise additional funds. The slogan: “real men don’t abuse women, children or animals.”
Lynch loves the idea. “This will bring a new audience to the table,” she said.
Boeve wants the events to encourage domestic violence victims to find their own voice and inner strength.
“I want it to be empowering for women,” she said. “Because silence promotes violence.”
To donate bedding, drop them at 7523 43rd Court East, or email Kelly@orangemooninteriors.com.