By Milena Lopez
As we near the end of the first week of December, it is clear that the holiday season is in full swing. Many of us are making a list and checking it twice to make sure we do not forget anyone on our gift lists. This year, consider adding victims and survivors of domestic violence to your list. As we mentioned in a previous BTS blog post, the holidays can be especially difficult for victims and survivors of DV. Here are some ways you can give back to those in need of extra support this holiday season:
Host a holiday food and clothing drive at work
The holidays are an especially busy time for local domestic violence shelters. Hosting a drive for food, new clothing, and other items at work can help local shelters receive enough items to meet their demands.
Pro tip: place large, empty boxes wrapped in holiday paper with a flyer about your cause in your office building lobby to increase the number of donations you receive. You can also work with your supervisors to send a mass email or post a flyer on the company bulletin board to remind your coworkers to participate before your deadline. To find a local shelter and see their needs this season, visit domesticshelters.org.
Donate other types of items to local organizations and shelters
Many shelters also accept other types of donations, like vehicles, gift cards (gas, groceries, and others like Walmart and Target are particularly helpful), tickets to movies and other entertainment, new household items, gently used strollers and large furniture, among others. These items can all support survivors and their families to start their lives over as they recover from the violence they experienced. Remember, children and pets can be victims of abuse as well. New items like toys are greatly appreciated.
The YWCA is a helpful resource for determining needs of victims and survivors. Check their website to find a local chapter you can support.
Volunteer for special holiday programs and events at your local organization
Many shelters and organizations that support victims and survivors of DV are holding special programs and donation campaigns this holiday season. Check with your local shelter for more information.
If you provide health or professional services, like dentistry or haircuts, you may be able to donate your time at these events. Some shelters may have a need for other specialty skills, like legal advice, year-round. Contact your local shelter to see if they need your volunteer services this season.
Buy items where proceeds benefit BTS and other organizations
Many organizations are offering items whose sale directly benefits their efforts to support victims and survivors of domestic violence. For example, BTS is selling shirts and sweatshirts like the one to the left to benefit the programs we provide all year. You can buy your shirt or sweatshirt here until December 11, 2017.
Check the website for your local shelter or organization for a virtual store, or shop at thrift stores that benefit domestic violence shelters.
Do your online holiday shopping using AmazonSmile
As mentioned in another BTS blog post about Giving Tuesday, Amazon will donate a portion of your online holiday purchases to an organization of your choice. You can sign up at smile.amazon.com/ and use that link each time you shop to ensure your organization receives the proceeds from your purchases.
Share your support for victims and survivors of DV on social media
Once you have given back for the holidays, share what you did to help on social media! That way, your friends and followers may be inspired to do something similar in their own community. You can also follow various organizations, like Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence, DomesticShelters.org, National Domestic Violence Hotline, NCADV, Futures Without Violence, and others on social media to get updates on what you can do to end domestic violence and support victims and survivors all year long.