My friends on Facebook have been changing their profile photos as an “awareness of childhood violence.” I’ve long grumbled about those “feel good” gestures because the only thing they inspire is feeling good. “Feeling good” is worthwhile if it is the first step to doing good.
Some years ago, I told my family and friends that I was no longer buying them holiday presents. Instead, I was using the money to give to people who don’t have basic living supplies. My family and friends don’t need anything else to dust, find space for, or return with that “gift receipt” I had to include. It didn’t make sense to be buying a sweater that would get returned when a family not 10 miles from me doesn’t have blankets.
My friend Ruth is having a “gratitude party” next week to gather friends and reflect that the last year has been hard financially for all of us, be we still have basics. Each of us is bringing a gift for a child who has nothing. You can do that, too.
Here are some easy things you can do:
Call the domestic violence coalition in your city or state (Google them, using your state name) and find the “Contribute” page. Contribute through PayPal. Here’s the page for the Arizona Coalition of Domestic Violence contribution page. Call them at 602-279-2900.
Want to do more? Most shelters need basic household supplies–paper towels, hand sanitizer, shampoo, baby diapers, paper napkins, crayons, coloring books, baby food, even hygiene products. Bring them a bag of needed items on your way home from the grocery store.
People flee domestic violence with nothing. Bring some nice hand lotion, unused cosmetics, lip gloss, water. Gift cards for local grocery stores, restaurants, even theaters will make their lives seem normal for a few hours.
Here is the name, address, phone number of Phoenix-area shelters that need your help:
YWCA of Maricopa County 755 East Willetta Street Phoenix, AZ 85006 602-258-0990
Chrysalis Shelter For Victims of Domestic Violence P.O. Box 9956 Phoenix AZ 85068 Business: 602-944-9619 Hotline/Crisis: 602-944-4999 If you shop at Basha’s, you can link your card and for no cost to you, Basha’s will contribute one percent of your shopping total (every time you shop) to Chrysalis.
Maricopa County Government – Women & Children protective services has a page that lists shelter telephone numbers, but no addresses, to protect the people there. Post the list on your Facebook site, or call them and ask what they need.
Sojourner Center Phoenix AZ 85006 Business #: 602-258-5348 Hotline/Crisis: 602-258-5344 They have a needs list you can help with.
You can make a difference. In Arizona, the poor come very low on the state budget. The smallest action on your part will resonate a long way. Take action, and shop for someone else today. Tell us what you did and leave your link in the comments. Everything helps. I’ll gather all the links, from as many cities and states as I get, and add them to the blog.
Already bought presents? Great. Donate the present to a domestic violence shelter.
--Quinn McDonald is a writer and instructor who teaches the under-served communication and job interview skills. She will not change her profile picture on Facebook.