Rebel with a Cause

Photo is courtesy of Dave Jackson

Photo is courtesy of Dave Jackson

BY Jillian Dawson

If you have yet to catch a performance by Christopher Gold, you are definitely missing out. Gold, who plays with his band the New Old Things as well as making acoustic appearances around the Fox Cities, is continuing a holiday tradition with a little bit of music and a whole lot of heart.

December 12 marks the Fifth Annual Dirty Rotten Toy Drive hosted by Gold, which benefits the Harbor House domestic abuse shelter in Appleton.

The Toy Drive (whose unusual name stems from Gold’s former band, the Dirty Rotten So & So’s) will be held at the Refuge with a stellar line up of musicians who, along with Gold, caught some attention during Mile of Music – Austin Lucas, Cory Chisel, Adriel Denae, Simon Balto, Freddie Haas (Redhawks) and Andrew Johnson (Haunted Heads).

This year’s performances showcase a tribute to songwriter Townes Van Zandt along with raffle items donated from record stores, tattoo shops and local artists. Tickets are available for $20 at the Exclusive Company in Appleton with 100% of the ticket sales and donations going straight to the Harbor House, along with new unwrapped toys for the children at the shelter.

While the show promises an entertaining evening, to Gold it’s about much more than simply toys and tunes. It’s also about spreading awareness for domestic violence, particularly in the Fox Cities.

“I felt like part of a community that wasn’t engaged in conversations about domestic violence,” Gold said. “It’s an unpleasant thing to think about it, but if you’re not talking about it, you’re not doing any of the preventative work.”

Harbor House resides in Appleton as a safe haven for women and children affected by domestic violence. As of September 2015, the facility received 10,696 calls to their help line with more than 1,100 people seeking support from domestic abuse. The shelter has been at capacity 50% of the year.

Jenny Krikava, who is the Development and Marketing Director of Harbor House, shed light on the impact of donations from the Toy Drive.

“For a mom creating a new life for her family,” Krikava said “it’s more than about just giving gifts, it’s about giving hope and encouragement to these families whose past holidays were not filled with peace and joy. They help make the holidays brighter and create new, special memories as they continue on their healing journey.”

So far, Gold’s efforts have raised more than $4,000 for the Harbor House Children’s Program which assists children in healing emotionally from domestic violence and to begin reestablishing familial bonds.

Though the holidays are the season of giving, Gold notes, “It’s a nice thing that happens once a year, but it hasn’t turned into a yearly attitude shift, at least in the area. Harbor House is there the other 364 days of the year.”

While Gold plans to keep the Toy Drive an annual tradition, he can’t help but have one wistful Christmas wish, “Every year I hope that domestic abuse will stop, that we wouldn’t have to do this again. That’s the dream.”

You can visit the Harbor House website for a list of current needs such as blankets, bedding, towels and pajamas, information for their Holiday Adopt a Family Program as well as their holiday wish list, with gift suggestions to provide healing and wellness to the women and families at the shelter.

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