Crimson Cocktails raises funds for women and children

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City wants locals to eat, drink and be helpful as its Crimson Cocktails benefit returns for its second year.

The food and wine event is 6:30 p.m. Aug. 22 at Norman Arts Council Gallery, 122 E. Main St., and benefits Sanctuary Women’s Development Center, said Sonny Wilkinson, Catholic Charities senior director of mission advancement.

“This is really the first year it’s a true fundraiser,” he said. “Last year, we tried it out, more just to raise awareness of Sanctuary in the community. Now, we’re seeking community support.”

Sanctuary is a place for homeless and at-risk women and children to access basic services and do laundry, take showers and use computers. It’s not an overnight shelter, but it does provide a safe place to stop.

It’s more than temporary relief, though, Wilkinson said. When the people who come to Sanctuary lower their defenses and establish a rapport with the staff, case managers are there to work with them to help them understand and overcome setbacks and challenges.

“They help create a service plan and interface with other agencies in Norman to give them the best access to the help they need,” he said. “We want to help elevate people out of homelessness.”

Sanctuary sees about 231 women a month, based on sign-ins, and Wilkinson said it has seen 700 new women using the service in the past year.

“We were shocked when we studied it just how big the homeless population is in Norman. It’s larger, per capita, than Oklahoma City,” Wilkinson said.

There is a scarcity of affordable housing in Norman and a lack of long-term shelters, making Sanctuary’s work all the more important.

Kristin Mumiukha, assistant director of Sanctuary in Norman, developed a life skills curriculum at Sanctuary, and it’s also taught at the OKC location and at Holy Family Home in Midwest City. The program teaches basics — hygiene, health, housekeeping — that aren’t always available to those caught in a cycle of poverty.

Jax Soul Kitchen, Blu’s BBQ & Burgers, O Asian Fusion, Interurban and other restaurants will provide appetizers paired with unique red cocktails at the casual dress event. Tickets are limited but are available for $65 at

In addition to raising money for Sanctuary, Wilkinson said he hopes the event will help spotlight some of Norman’s artists and restaurants.

“We wanted it to be in Norman and to be centered around the community because the women at Sanctuary need the community’s support,” he said.



Print headline: Red dawn, Crimson Cocktails returns with a cheers-inducing approach to helping raise women and children out of poverty and homelessness.

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