Donation drive gives new beginnings to domestic violence survivors

For 11 years running, the Assistance League of Greater Cincinnati’s New Beginnings program has collected household essentials for survivors of domestic violence and their children. The bedding, kitchen items, and other necessities are used to help those who are transitioning from shelters to permanent homes establish new lives — and move on from their harrowing pasts with ease and comfort.

Chapter president Audrey Stehle has been involved with Assistance League for more than twenty years. Now in her third year as president, Stehle says she’s never experienced anything quite as sad or challenging as the hardship seen in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The resulting spike in domestic violence has left shelters overrun.

“We’ve met with all the area shelter directors, and all of them are really struggling to serve all of the need. In fact, they’ve had to close some clients out because they couldn’t find enough rooms,” says Stehle. “Fifteen children have died at the hands of domestic violence acts in their homes in Ohio. When I read that statistic I thought, ‘That’s barbaric that not only a child has to live with that life, but they die from it.’”

On a positive note, joining forces has helped many local nonprofits meet the needs brought about by the pandemic. Stehle says the Montgomery Women’s Club has always been helpful with the drive, and that last year’s necessitated transition to a drive-through event actually brought phenomenal success.

The Women’s Club has a compatible mission with Assistance League — to work with women affected by violence and abuse. The organizations enthusiastically and efficiently support each other.

“We did the publicity and the promotion and made the lists. We worked with them as collaborators at the first drive-through event. It was so successful that we decided to do it again,” says Stehle.

This year the New Beginnings event has expanded to include two drop-off locations.

“One of our members is on the (Women’s League) committee and she wanted to get a second location so that her children and their school could volunteer. So she reached out to the Kroger Marketplace in Oakley and we think it’s going to be a very successful thing,” says Stehle.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This year’s drive benefitting the New Beginnings program takes place on October 23rd from 10 a.m. to noon at the Aeropointe Medical Building in Blue Ash, and the Kroger Marketplace in Oakley.
The following items are needed (must be new):

·       Twin-size blankets and sheet sets
·       Double-size blankets and sheet sets
·       Bathroom rugs, towels, washcloths
·       Shower curtains and rings
·       Laundry baskets
·       Pots and pans
·       Dish sets
·       Silverware
“We serve all the domestic violence shelters in the Greater Cincinnati area, including Warren County, the YWCA shelters, and the shelters in Northern Kentucky,” says Stehle. “We know that the need is extremely high. The more supplies we have, the more clients we can serve. This is an easy way that you can make a difference in the community,” encourages Stehle.

For those that can’t make the event, Assistance League of Greater Cincinnati’s Bond Hill location will also happily accept donations from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Read more articles by Eliza Bobonick.

Eliza Bobonick is a Cincinnati-based writer and a mother of three. Her work has been featured in such local and regional publications as Cincinnati CityBeat and Kentucky Homes and Gardens Magazine. She is a former musician whose interests include photography and interior design.

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