Shelter Buddy Care Bags

 In Illinois Chapter News

SHELTER BUDDY CARE BAG project – When the Life Members learned that domestic violence was on the rise due to COVID-19, we reached out to the Crisis Center for South Suburbia. The Crisis Center serves the Chicago South Suburbs and they have 35 bed emergency shelter and 24 transitional living apartments for their clients. We wanted to find a way to comfort the children who are affected by domestic violence while at the same time, supporting the victims. To “answer the call” we filled AT&T Pioneer drawstring totes with fleece throws, Pioneer Teddy Bears, coloring books, crayons, sketching pads, puzzle books and children’s playing cards. Each child is provided with a tote when they arrive at the emergency shelter and totes were also provided for those in who reside in the transitional apartments. Gift bags are provided for the domestic violence victims and for those who reach out for counseling, advocacy, outreach and education. An AT&T Pioneer decal is affixed to each bag and they are filled with a fleece throw, a notebook and an AT&T Pioneer pen so victims can journal during this difficult time. The bags also contain an AT&T Pioneer notecard handwritten by volunteers expressing our personal words of encouragement. Special attention was paid to branding the items!

The Crisis Center provides three meals per day for all their clients and two snacks for the children. They receive State Grants for the purchase of food but are restricted on what they can buy and are always in need of snacks. We believe that no child should go hungry and we personally shopped for snack items and made four large deliveries of individually wrapped items i.e., chips, crackers, cookies, fruit snacks and juice boxes!

The Staff was overwhelmed with our donations and we’ve been told that the comfort bags have been so well received by all. Because of the great response to this project we have already reached out to Harbor House Domestic Violence Shelter in Kankakee and are currently working on bags for their clients. It’s our hope to continue with our SHELTER BUDDY CARE BAG project throughout the pandemic and beyond based on funding.

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