Target employees volunteer to paint the interior of the Emmaus House in Hollister

The managers and employees of eight Target stores took a break from their jobs on Jan. 18 to paint the interior of the nonprofit Emmaus House domestic violence shelter in Hollister.

Emmaus House, the only such shelter in San Benito County, since 2006 has provided shelter and assistance to women and children who are victims of domestic violence. The Target store volunteers spent their day dipping brushes into paint buckets, moving furniture and preparing rooms for carpet to be installed.

The shelter was selected by Target for community support during the week following Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Patrice Kuerschner, executive director of Emmaus House, praised the cooperation of several companies, reporting that Target provided a grant, Hollister Paint Company provided paint, M & M Carpet of Hollister donated carpets, and paint contractor Tony Jaime provided the supplies needed.

Companies and organizations affiliated with the United Way of San Benito County — including Premiere Cinemas, Round Table Pizza, Blossom Nails and Spa, and the Hollister YMCA — donated items so the residents would have something to go do outside of the building during the renovation project.

Vanessa Trejo-Fortino, of the Watsonville Target store, coordinated the eight-store participation.

The volunteers showed up early in the morning to get the rooms ready to paint, change the décor and re-arrange the individual bedrooms.

Leilani Mendoza, of the Capitola store, pointed out the room she worked in. She chose the Colorado Grey color on the walls to continue with the Paris theme favored by the occupant.

Mark Echevarria, the human resources director for the Sand City Target store, said he was happy to be painting for this worthy project.

He joined a team with store manager Matt Duprel and Mark’s father, Edward, who volunteered during the day.

The following managers from the Target stores volunteered:

Matt Duprel (Sand City); Julene Vargas (Hollister); Bhavik Patel (Salinas); Luna Tayim (Marina); Charles Anderson (Gilroy); Vanessa Trejo-Fortino (Watsonville); Luis Carbajal (Morgan Hill); and Ametrius Porter (Capitola).

The large house consists of 10 overnight rooms, with the capacity to accommodate 25 people, communal living spaces with four kitchenettes, a laundry room, a counseling room, a children’s play area and a playground.

According to Kuerschner, the house is staffed 24/7 with trained advocates to serve women and children as they begin a life free of violence.

“Domestic violence,” according to information provided by Emmaus House, “is defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. This violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender.”

According to the website,, it is estimated that one out of every three women will experience domestic violence. Emmaus House states that from 2005 to 2015, there were nearly 2,100 reported cases of domestic violence in the City of Hollister. Emmaus House has a 24-hour crisis hotline, weekly group support sessions, medical and legal referrals, emergency food and clothing, and more.

For more information, call 831-630-5899 or visit The crisis hotline is 877-778-7978.