Many people who see the struggles and horrors victims and survivors of abuse endure and want to help but are often times overwhelmed by the scope of need. Perhaps some mistakenly feel that even the small things they could do would not make enough of a difference in our lives. The truth is, there are so many needs that must be met, so many varying circumstances even all the similarities in our stories, that anything you do helps, whether it carries financial benefit or not. Here are suggestions of things you can do as “just one person” that can have profound impact on our lives.
Financial – If you have the means to provide any sort of financial assistance, here are things you, as one person, can do:
- Donate money to domestic violence services by setting aside a small portion of your tax refund, inheritance, or bonus.
- Donate old vehicles.
- Donate baby care items like diapers, wipes, clothing, car seats, jarred food, formula, etc. Most DV services orgs provide lists of items they need the most.
- Donate personal care items like deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, soap, sanitary products, makeup, fragrances, lotion, etc. Most DV services orgs include these on lists of much-needed items.
- Donate over the counter medications likes ibuprofen, stomach medication, allergy medication, wound care, first aid kits, ace bandages, etc. Most DV services orgs include these on lists of much-needed items.
- Donate unwanted toys and books for all age ranges.
- Donate pet care items like hard and canned food, litter, flea and tick removal, leashes, toys, etc. DV shelters allowing pets can also use help securing these items.
- Donate clothing you no longer wear, including footwear, outerwear, and dressier items. Most DV services orgs provide lists of items they need.
- Donate unused undergarments, hosiery, sleep wear, and related items. Most DV services orgs will include these on lists of urgently needed items.
- Donate old cell phones or other electronics. These are much-needed as many of us are stalked and tracked using technology or had a phone, etc taken away and need a way to communicate safely.
- Donate food items taking care to include meat, eggs, frozen veggies, non-perishables, and small treats. Most DV service orgs will include these on their needed items list.
- Donate gift cards for groceries in small denominations to use on dairy and other perishables.
- Donate un-sold baked goods instead of throwing them away.
- Donate gas cards in small denominations.
- Donate pre-paid phone cards.
- Donate household cleaning products.
Services free of charge – If you are unable to financially assist due to budget constraints, you have so many options. Your limit is your imagination:
- Pet grooming – If you have a pet grooming business, you can offer a free pet spa day for survivors in shelters with pets.
- Spa day – If you run a spa, offer a free massage / makeover day once a month.
- Resume and employment – Help those searching for work revamp or make their first resume, do mock interviews to build their confidence, and give them tips about finding employment.
- Dinner Night – Do you cook? Offer to do a special dinner once a month.
- Entertainment – Start a movie night, comedy shows, games.
- Day care – Are you a licensed day care provider? Maybe you can coordinate with the shelter to help provide child care to cover for interviews, etc.
- Errands – Have a vehicle? Arrange days where you would be willing to help make trips to grocery stores, laundromats, and appointments.
- House cleaning – Do you own a cleaning business? Maybe you could set up a few days a month to volunteer to help clean shelters and DV service orgs office space.
- Printing services – Do you own a copy business? Maybe you can donate time and goods to help print and distribute fliers and educational materials.
- Website – Could you help an org design a website?
- Volunteer to answer phones or work for the DV services org in your area.
Organize community events to fund-raise for a DV services org in your area:
- Charity basketball / football game
- Food drives at school, work, or social organization
- Personal and baby care item drives at school, work, or social organization
- Carnivals or fairs
- Baked goods sales
- Craft fair
If you have items you want to donate locally but are unsure if they are needed, contact DV services orgs in your area and inquire. Never assume it cannot be used.
- Old eye-wear
- Old computers
- Dishes, bakeware, glassware, silverware
- Storage items
And never underestimate the impact befriending and providing support can be. Even when you cannot spare money, food, or items, you always have a full supply of compassion and some spare time. No matter our material or sheltering needs, we always need more support, encouragement, and understanding. If someone is being abused and they confide in you, the most important things you can do is tell them you believe them, tell them it isn’t their fault, and offer to help. Even if they leave multiple times. Can you store escape clothes for them? Financial documents and personal ID documents? Can you give them a place to stay? Do you know who to refer them to for assistance? What DV orgs are in your area?
How can you help? Show up, reach out, and share your heart. Bring a friend, and maybe your children. All you need is compassion.