Another state coordinator suggests:
I run a group that adopts DV shelters throughout the US to try and help provide things they aren’t getting and need and comfort items. We do send mostly handmade things, and most of that is crochet or knit. I’m going somewhere with this…and I’m not trying to get members from this group I just need to give you the background……When I have someone that wishes to sponsor the shelter in their area they talk to the director and then I call to confirm that. I’ve had a couple directors (not many at all) that are not interested in handmade afghans, dishcloths, towels, sheets, etc…..even though they need these things they want them store bought. I’ve found two main reasons for this, and once you figure out which one is the one stopping you from getting through then you can combat their response and still help victims.
1: The shelter worker herself has never been a victim of DV and has no clue what it feels like. I mean she can care all she can but when it comes down to it she does not know personally what it feels like to know that someone is giving you something and they don’t even know you, it is very comforting.
2: The shelter is located in an area where there is a strong sense of animosity towards others…..a not so friendly town, etc……and in areas like that most people are raised to think other people are just plain nasty. So if you give handmade items you can’t show (by it still being in the original package) that it was new and not used. In areas like that they tell the women in the shelter, as a way of building up their self esteem that they are too good for hand-me-downs, and handmade things.
I’ve also found that usually the director of the shelter is more responsive to donations in general, so I always try to contact the director to set an appointment for delivery. Shelter workers some times allow themselves to distance themselves from what they have to hear and see all the time and it just becomes a job for them and a donation will be just that much more work they will have to do. So start with the director. I’ve only encountered one director that just absolutely refused to allow us to help victims in her shelter….she eventually got fired (no doing of ours) and the new director found one of our brochures in the desk and emailed us….we have since then adopted that shelter for one of our quarterly deliveries…..so it all worked out in the end. However, I didn’t waste much time with the original director…I just moved on and found another shelter that would let us help.
I’ve also found that in order to gift shawls to victims families after a DV death that contacting the state coalition is helpful as well as the victim advocates locally.
I hope I haven’t went to far off on a tangent, and that this will help someone!