Dulce Rojas, SEPA Mujer community organizer, serves breakfast at Applebee's Saturday. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Supporters of SEPA Mujer (Services for the Advancement of Women) turned out for a breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs and sausages Saturday morning at Applebee’s in Riverhead.

The goal of the fundraising event was to raise money to help save the organization’s legal services program.

“Our attorney’s work is tremendously important,” SEPA Mujer executive director Martha Maffei told RiverheadLOCAL this week. “She helps women that are victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, human traffic and others.

The 24-year-old nonprofit, dedicated to empowering women through a wide array of programs, recently suffered a double blow: A Department of Justice Violence Act grant was not renewed, and one of its main supporters, the Hagerdorn Foundation, closed its doors in October.

SEPA Mujer estimates that to successfully continue offering legal services it needs to raise at least $80,000 annually to cover salaries and other administrative expenses such as copies, mailings and others.

Yesterday’s breakfast also featured a Chinese auction raffle of gift baskets.

Among the supporters at the event was Riverhead Town Supervisor-elect Laura Jens-Smith, who said she came to support SEPA Mujer because of the important work it does in the local community.

Maria Piedrabuena contributed reporting


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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.