Every year, an empty warehouse sits waiting to be filled by the generous donations of people willing to give a little so that another family's holidays can be a bit brighter.
In 2017, almost 800 families benefited from the Adopt A Family program. Around 750 families have asked for assistance this year -- many of them headed by mothers who have recently fled abusive partners. Caseworkers with the program interview each family to find out what they need or want, and many of them ask for basic necessities like food, cleaning supplies and toiletries (which are not covered by food stamps). Donations of games, sports gear and toys are also welcomed.
When donating, remember that many of the families asking for assistance may be living in shelters while they attempt to relocate away from their abusive spouses and partners. In many cases, a mother will leave behind just about everything she owns when making her escape from a violent situation. Gift cards make it possible for parents to replace clothing and shoes that they or their children desperately need.
Incidents of domestic violence tend to spike around the holiday season every year. Experts believe that things like holiday parties with lots of drinking, the pressure to spend money on gifts and the emotional nature of the holidays in general can often drive intimate partner violence. Victims may struggle to seek help more than normal, as well, because of social pressure that encourages them to not disrupt the holidays for others.
Domestic violence is never okay. If you are in a violent situation, an attorney can help you exercise your legal rights to be free from the constant threat of harm. Restraining orders can help enforce a distance between you and your abuser -- and give you an opportunity to move forward.