For victims of domestic violence – sometimes getting out of the situation means getting out with nothing more than the clothes on your back.
That makes the holidays a challenging time for survivors who haven’t made it back on their feet and out on their own again.
Thankfully, Family Shelter Service is a domestic violence shelter in DuPage County that makes a free holiday shop for the people it serves.
“It’s one of those rare moments where it’s a visible demonstration of community support and the community care and concern. For a rare moment clients can see that there are complete strangers that really care that they’re safe,” said Judie Caribeaux, executive director of Family Shelter Service.
And putting on the holiday shop is a community effort, with donations from individuals and organizations alike.
And those donations are made up of everything from needs like toiletries, to wants for kids, since victims of domestic violence often bring their kids with them when leaving to make sure they’re safe.
This year, Crowe LLP donated a dozen bikes built by their staff.
“I’m proud to be part of Crowe and contributing to this great event and our contribution is a small contribution in the terms of the contributions this organization makes,” said Shawn Kane, partner with Crowe LLP. “We’re just proud to be a part of it.”
And the DuPage Medical Group dropped off a literal truckload of toys.
“I got involved because I had the opportunity to hear a victim speak,” said Maggie Andersen, director of HR at DuPage Medical Group. “And her story was so powerful and you think ‘this person is a normal person. This could be my cousin, this could be my sister, this could be my daughter.’ And you think, ‘I have to do something.’”
But for something to keep those in need comfortable, nothing can beat the 52 blankets handmade by girls from Lincoln Junior High School.
“I just love the colors and it’s bright to me and it just feels like it will put a smile on a kids face. It’s a kid-ish blanket,” said seventh grader Jadea Johnson.
“It makes me feel really good because those people are suffering a lot of stuff and I think the holidays need to have a little joy and this brings them the joy that they need,” said seventh grader Aleksandra Gungarova.
Giving the gift of warmth and comfort in the holiday season.
Family Shelter Service provides a confidential hotline for those in need of help – just call 630-469-5650.
Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.
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