By Stacie Ballard
“Shoefly is more than just a restaurant, it is a way to have shared human experiences. We want people to do things together and have activities together. There is nothing in my opinion that is more invigorating or motivating personally than this, something bigger than myself.” This motivated Kait and Craig Mariutto, owners of Shoefly Public House, to host a trivia fundraiser event for Ascent 121 on February 7th.
Guests at Shoefly Public House were treated to their spacious brick basement for a night of fun and awareness raising trivia. Upon entry everyone was given a free donated beverage from Sun King Brewery, and then in teams regaled with questions about such things as human trafficking in Indiana, pop movie titles, and songs from the past. The fundraising event raised money for Ascent 121 victim services, as well as provided a hands on approach to awareness and ways for interested people to volunteer, donate and engage in the future.
“I would say that this type of event is important for so many reasons,” Kait said. “It seems that many people in Indiana believe that human trafficking only happens in a port city, or somewhere bigger. But it does happen here. I think the event helped everyone learn something, plus be reminded of the issue and how to get involved.”
Shoefly Public House was created out of a need. The Mariuttos moved to the Fall Creek Place neighborhood and asked around about where to go for ‘burgers and a drink’. There was nothing in the neighborhood and they kept thinking, maybe someone should open something up around here? And thus Shoefly Public House was opened in 2013.
The family place was created for people to walk in, enjoy a meal and be casual in conversation. Craig even hung some of their own family photos around the interior and included familiar favorites on the menu as well as new dishes. Craig is the creative genius behind the menu and sources all the food locally.
Kait explained their philanthropic desire through Shoefly. “We have wanted to support our community, our neighbors and local organizations and have from the beginning been involved in things like silent auctions, school events and youth organizations. The issue of human trafficking is something people see as somewhere else, but it is in our own community as well. It might be that people think slavery is in the past, but it isn’t. Not really.”
Besides helping out Ascent 121, Kait believes it was a benefit for Shoefly as well. “We gained exposure to a new demographic as well as being able to showcase our menu. I think as a result goodwill is spreading about our restaurant, and how we support local issues. We had more sales, new customers and it created local connections which continue to bring in positive promotions for Shoefly.”
Shoefly Public House is already planning another event for Ascent 121, Bingo on October 24th, find details at https://ascent121.org/?page_id=200
“As a business owner I think, why wouldn’t we host an event like this if we have the space? I mean, it highlighted an important local issue and supported a local organization plus helped our overall budget.”
Continue to support both Ascent 121 and Shoefly Public House through following on social media. And on a personal note, try their vegan meatloaf – it is my favorite!
Stacie Ballard is the project manager at Ascent 121. She has worked overseas in anti trafficking for many years and has a heart for survivors. Stacie lives in Indianapolis, Indiana with her husband.