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Assistance League in the Community
Assault Survivor Kits® Provide Comfort and Dignity
You look at the clock…3 a.m. and the phone is ringing. “Hello.”
“Is this the Johnson residence?”
“I am a nurse from the Emergency Room at Good Samaritan Hospital. You are listed as a contact for your daughter. Is this correct?”
You sit up and think to yourself, this is the phone call you never wanted to receive. You have, however, received it. You rush to get dressed and to the hospital. Time is of the essence. Your panicked first thoughts are to make sure your loved one is safe. You do not remember to bring fresh clothes, undergarments, shoes, not even a toothbrush.
This distressing situation is repeated all too often in hospitals across the country, as victims and their families struggle to make sense of what has happened and move forward with dignity. Leaving the hospital in new clothing, not a paper gown, is the first step toward restoring confidence and healing.
Assault Survivor Kits, an Assistance League philanthropic program offered by many chapters, is a practical and compassionate way to support victims who are in the middle of this traumatic experience. Individuals receive sweats or basic clothing, footwear, undergarments and personal hygiene items so they may feel calm about leaving their garments behind as physical evidence for the police.
The kits are assembled by Assistance League member volunteers for males and females, adults and children. Children’s kits contain warm-ups or pajamas (depending on the age of the child), and flip-flops or socks. Stuffed animals provide comfort for a child.
Assistance League of Southeastern Michigan recently received a generous donation from The Women’s Fund, of the Community Foundation of Greater Rochester, for its Assault Survivor Kit program, which serves nearly 1,000 victims each year in 37 hospitals and trauma centers across Michigan.
“The harsh truth is that victims of rape and sexual abuse must leave their clothing with law enforcement officials as evidence. Survivor kits contain new clothing so these already devastated women have something clean and comfortable to wear home,” said President-Elect Marjorie DiLiddo. “Without these clothes, women would have to leave in a hospital gown. We hope to preserve their dignity, provide some comfort, and let them know that somebody cares.”
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Assistance League in the Community
Operation School Bell®
Can you imagine never having a new pair of shoes, only attending school half of the time as you must share your clothes with a sibling or an entire family sharing one toothbrush? This is happening to 50% of the children in our country. Operation School Bell, the national program of Assistance League, strives to meet the needs of children across our country. During the past year, over 331,000 children were reached by the 120 chapters. Since the program was started in 1958, over 4.3 million school-age children have been served.
Many chapters provide new school clothing, shoes and coats along with other items, including backpacks, books, school supplies and food for the weekend, in their programs. Another aspect of this program is to provide dental or vision care and personal care kits. The goals of providing children with these items are raising self-esteem, building confidence in the students and make a tremendous impact in their education. This program also reduces the teasing and bullying of these students.
Watching the children as they are given new shoes, shop for clothing for the first time or receiving a new backpack is as rewarding to the member as it is for the children. Whether the chapter provides vouchers, shops with the students in a local store or clothes them in their own facility, the members feel such a bonding with these students. Operation School Bell takes a huge amount of effort, dedication, funding and manpower, which is willingly given by the members.
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Community Volunteer Spotlight
Meet Kathy Baskerville
Volunteer from Assistance League of Salem-Keizer
How does a career as a crime scene cleaner, a bachelors degree in psychology, and experience working on a crisis hotline all combine to make the perfect community volunteer at a furniture store? Just ask Kathy Baskerville, who volunteers 12 hours per month at Assistance League of Salem-Keizer’s Encore Furniture Store. When Kathy came in to shop for furnishings a few years ago and learned that one of the chapter’s programs helps young adult foster children set up their first household, she immediately wanted to help- and knew she could. Her skills all came together to give her the volunteer job she loves- working with furniture and décor, keeping things very clean and knowing how to listen to customers.
Kathy feels that her contribution helps provide the kind of helping hand she wishes she had received when she was a foster child in Portland during her youth. Sometimes everything comes together for just the right reasons!
We Need Your Help
Join us! Become a part of an incredible group of volunteers who are dedicated to making a difference in your community. Assistance League offers unique volunteer opportunities that fit your interest and time.