Mayor Gregg Hull, sporting domestic-violence-awareness purple, pauses from cooking burgers to smile for a photo at last year’s Haven House Mayor’s BBQ. (Gary Herron/ Rio Rancho Observer)

It’s the month to shine a spotlight on a year-around problem.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Haven House, the only domestic-violence shelter in Sandoval County, is organizing special observances to support victims and survivors.

Haven House employees and volunteers “purpled the poles” Saturday, Sept. 28, tying purple ribbons to light poles along NM 528. They’ll also have informational tables at events hosted by other organizations.

“Our big event is the barbecue,” said Haven House Clinical Director Dale Klein-Kennedy.

The annual Haven House Mayor’s BBQ is set to start at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 12 at Haynes Park with the theme “Providing hope for our families.” Haven House staff members are looking for sponsors to make monetary or in-kind donations.

“Any and everything helps,” said Shelter Program Manager Estella Weitz.

The barbecue is open to the public, since domestic violence is a community issue, she said.

“We need to support not only our victims, but the community,” Weitz continued.

The event includes dinner for a donation of any amount, children’s activities, a silent auction and a health fair. Fifteen agencies had signed up to participate in the health fair as of Sept. 26, and there was still space for more to join in for $40 per table. All proceeds to go Haven House client services.

New Mexico Coalition against Domestic Violence Executive Director Pam Wiseman is scheduled to give the keynote speech.Also, a DJ is set to provide the music this year.

“We’re excited that we’ll have the opportunity to hand-pick some songs related to domestic violence and healing,” Klein-Kennedy said.

The barbecue concludes with a candlelight vigil at sunset.

“It’s really important,” said Weitz, explaining that the vigil honors victims and survivors, and shows support among community members. “It’s all about support.”

Haven House serves men and women, and the LGBTQ community. Through a grant, it also offers counseling, homework help, recreational activities and more for children.

It has 32 beds, as well as providing non-residential support. Among other services, a non-residential support group, with a kids support group and childcare happening at the same time, meets regularly.

To volunteer or donate, call the shelter at 896-4869. That number is also the crisis hotline, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For more information about the shelter, visit