June 12, 2012
Hyde County Hotline branches out to Ocracoke


Hyde County Hotline, the nonprofit agency based in Swan Quarter, recently opened Tapestry, a Studio on Ocracoke. It is a retail operation for Hotline’s recycle project business model.

Proceeds from the shop/studio fund Hotline’s crisis intervention and advocacy services to victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence in Hyde County.   

Based on the successful model, Endless Possibilities in Manteo, Hotline takes discarded clothing and fabrics donated to its thrift stores and weaves them into rugs, runners, handbags, and other items.

The Ocracoke store opened June 5 in the Spencer’s Market complex along School Road.  Hotline has two other thrift stores in the county—in Swan Quarter and Engelhard.

“We see Ocracoke Island as a hub attracting visitors from all over the world,” said Kathy Ballance, executive director, based in Swan Quarter. “Our vision for the Ocracoke shop is to provide outreach and advocacy services to a much larger population than we could possibly reach on mainland Hyde.”

Already it’s working, Ballance explained, noting that she had gotten a call from a Kentucky woman who had recently visited Ocracoke, saw a Hotline flyer and called her.

“We want to provide an opportunity to anyone to get the help they need wherever they are to stop the cycle of violence,” she said.

Hotline provides educational services, such as one presented recently to Ocracoke School graduating seniors about “acquaintance rape.”

“A big percentage of rape is by people who know the victim,” Ballance said.

Hotline will present a workshop at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 14, in the Ocracoke Assembly of God Fellowship Hall on how to handle a crisis call from persons who are deaf or hearing impaired. It is open to the public.

In addition to items made from recycled fabrics, Tapestry’s inventory includes consignment items from several Hyde County crafters, such as paintings, oyster knives, note cards, and more. 

Ballance said she welcomes more items from Ocracoke crafters and artists.

One unusual line of consignment items is Santa Clauses painted on crab shells.

Ocracoke resident Lida Jones, visiting the shop during its open house June 9, was thrilled to see a rug made from men’s neckties just like one she had made several years ago out of dozens of ties belonging to her husband, Bill Jones, a retired minister.

“He hasn’t worn a tie since he retired several years ago,” Lida told shop manager Valerie Spencer of Ocracoke.  “I just love the idea of recycling those old ties.”

Best of all, the recycled items are going to a good cause, she added.

The tie rug for sale in Tapestry had a “sold” sign on it, but Bill happily brought theirs over for the shop to display in case others want to do the same with their old ties.

Among the items made from recycled materials are girls’ dresses made from pillow cases and aprons made from old jeans.

Ingeborg Frye, Hotline response team specialist, was on hand to demonstrate how the recycled materials are woven into usable items.

Frye, of Ocracoke, coordinates the various professionals needed in sexual abuse/violence cases.

Tapestry welcomes volunteers to take part in the initiative by working in the store, staffing the crisis phone lines, and helping to weave the materials.  Currently, there is one loom in the shop, but another one will be added in the days to come, Spencer said.

No experience is necessary to learn how to weave, Frye said.

“It takes 15 minutes to learn,” she said.

Store hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Awareness that help is available for those with concerns about their domestic situation is the heart of Hotline’s mission.  

Among the services the agency provides is a 24-hour crisis line, advocacy, referrals, transportation, counseling, accompaniment to the hospital and court cases, support groups educational presentations, professional training, financial and safety planning, and shelter services.

Brochures with this information are available at the store.

Hyde County Hotline, in addition to this retail operation, is partially funded through grants.

Donations of household items and clothing in good condition to sell in the thrift stores, as well as cash, is welcome, Ballance said.  She also said she is looking for a staffer to substitute when Spencer cannot be in the store.

For more information, call Ballance at 252-542-9029.

SLIDE SHOW (IPad, IPhone and other non-flash compatible device users)

 Comments are always welcomed!

     Subject :

     Name :  (required)

     Email :  (required, will not be published)

     City :   (required)    State :   (required)

     Your Comments:

May be posted on the Letters to the Editor page at the discretion of the editor.