Over the past few months, we have been fortunate to receive an outpouring of support and offers to help. During this very difficult time, our community has stepped up to help in so many unexpected ways. We are truly heartened by your generosity.
Due to social distancing measures, the way that individuals, businesses, and others can help has changed. One example is in-kind donations for our emergency shelter. We greatly appreciate the many offers we have received for items to support this important service. However, to protect our staff, our clients, and you, we cannot accept in-person donations of needs list items at this time. There are still ways that you can support our work while maintaining safety — such as shopping our Amazon wish list. When you purchase items from this wish list, they are shipped directly to us. With no need for you to come to our offices to drop off a donation, this eliminates the health risk on both sides.
There are other ways that you can help during this time. Our education team has been hard at work creating a video series that is based on our Building Empathy program. In the past, our team presented this program to children at local libraries and at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art. Now, the main components of the program are available on our website and our YouTube channel. A great way to support our work is to share these resources with parents, teachers, and others — and you’ll be helping the kids in your life at the same time.
We have also made our all-occasion greeting cards available online for the first time. For a suggested donation of $25, you can send a card to a loved one. Just pick the card(s) that you like best, choose an occasion, and tell us where to send it. Not only will you be supporting our work, but you will also be able to avoid going to the store to pick out a card there.
One of the challenges facing agencies like Blackburn Center is the increased costs of providing services in a socially-distanced manner. We have continued to offer many of our services throughout this time, but it often requires us to spend more money in order to do so. For example, most of our staff is currently working remotely, which has added technology costs to our budget. If you would like to support us financially, you can do so through a one-time or recurring donation.
You can also advocate for us and organizations providing similar services with your elected officials. While the CARES Act contained provisions that were designed to protect victims and survivors, it did not go far enough. You can send an email to your Congresspeople to ask them for more funding for organizations that provide domestic violence services by using this link from the National Network to End Domestic Violence. Just type in your name and address, personalize your message (if you choose to do so), and they’ll get the message to your senators and representative.
Finally, we encourage everyone to share information about our agency and the services that we provide. We know that home is not a safe place to be for many people. Getting information about our services to the public is a crucial way to make sure that as many people as possible know where to turn for help. Please let your family, friends, and social media contacts know that our hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-832-2272.
We hope that each of you are staying safe and healthy throughout this time. We appreciate your ongoing support — and look forward to seeing everyone in-person when this pandemic has ended.