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SEPA Mujer (Services for the Advancement of Women), a nonprofit organization that looks to empower women through a wide array of programs, will have its first-ever Riverhead “Friendsgiving,” a breakfast fundraiser, at Applebee’s this Saturday Nov. 18 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

The organization is inviting all the members of the community who want to go and share with them a full breakfast of pancakes, eggs, sausage and drink for a good cause: saving their legal department.

“The legal services we provide are vital,” said SEPA Mujer executive director Martha Maffei. “Many women depend on us to help them with difficult situations,” she said.

“Our attorney’s work is tremendously important. She helps women that are victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, human traffic and others,” Maffei said.

Right now they have over 160 cases from women and their families that are pending due to lacks of funds.

In a major blow for the nonprofit, the grant from the Department of Justice through the Violence Act that has helped the organization fund their legal aid services and staff attorney’s wages for the last three years was not renewed, and one of its main sponsors, the Hagerdorn Foundation, closed its doors in October.

“It is important to have an attorney who is sensitive, but experienced,” Maffei said.”Our attorney is not only that but she’s already familiarized with all the cases too, it would be devastating to lose her.”

SEPA Mujer has estimated that for them to successfully continue offering their legal services they need to raise at least $80,000 a year to cover salaries and other administrative expenses such as copies, mailings and others.

Maffei said that they have committed to sell a minimum of 100 tickets for the “Friendsgiving” breakfast as per the agreement they have with Applebee’s. Right now they have sold around 60 tickets and if they don’t meet their goal, they will have to pay for the remaining amount from their own pocket.

“This is a fun event. SEPA Mujer staff will act as waiters and will serve the community and we will get to know each other better and share a wonderful time,” Maffei said. “We urge families to come down and have some breakfast with us, it’s all about the community,” she said.

In addition to breakfast, they will also have raffles, she said.

Tickets are $10 for members, $15 for nonmembers. They may be purchased here.

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Maria Piedrabuena
María, a multimedia reporter, graduated from Stony Brook University with degrees in journalism and women and gender studies. She has worked for several news outlets including News12 and Fortune Magazine. A native of Spain, she loves to read, write and travel. She lives in Manorville. Email Maria