Helping the Helpers: This Essential Work Happens Behind Closed Doors...

- by Zara Ryan
During the month of April, {save} skincare is donating 10% of all sales to support The Laurel Center Intervention for Domestic and Sexual Violence.

Experts from around the world predict that current worldwide lockdowns due to COVID-19 place women in a more vulnerable position than ever before. Scaled back social and law enforcement services, increased time spent with their abusers and additional social and economic stressors, make this the perfect storm when it comes to domestic abuse, and we want to do something about it.
Joanna, {save} founder, knows that life could be much different for any of us if it weren’t for the luck of our circumstances. It’s the reason that {save} skincare operates with conscience.

As a company, we know that we can have the greatest impact when we act locally, so we reached out to our partners at The Laurel Center to ask them about their current challenges and find out what they need most during this time.

Executive Director Faith Power had some inspiring words to share, and doesn’t mince words when it comes to emphasizing the needs that The Laurel Center has during a critical time like this.

We’ve heard that experts predict an increase in domestic violence during this lockdown, what have you seen during the crisis locally?

Not at first, we called it the quiet before the storm, there was actually a decrease in calls until this week, then they started to pick up. We think that some are waiting out their situation until the stimulus hits the bank, and checks began arriving over the weekend. Our staff really used that time to get the shelter in order and stock up on supplies, expecting that we would see this increase.

How has the pandemic impacted your day to day operations?

Yes, in so many ways. First of all, it’s incredibly difficult to find the supplies we need, like bottled water, cleaning supplies, and protective equipment, etc. When we do find it, the stores have a limit on what we can buy, so we’re going out into the community daily and looking online as well to source the things we need. Our staff is rotating through telework as well, so on any given day, half are working from home. We also have several critical employees with underlying health conditions, and they will not be able to return to work onsite at the shelter for the duration of this epidemic. So we are really working with a skeleton crew, and have more to do than ever.

How has your funding been impacted by the crisis?

It’s been a challenge in a few ways. We’re in a state of uncertainty, we’ve applied for an SBA loan to help offset COVID-19 expenses. We’re spending in areas that are not budgeted for like masks and disinfectants. We’ve had to purchase Tracfones for our counselors, many of whom are working from home, for security so that their clients can make calls that are untraceable. We’ve had to purchase laptops for remote work. The combination of unforeseen expenses, on top of cancelling several large fundraisers due to the ban on public events and gatherings, has us looking at a $65-75k budget hole from just the spring events.

How can someone who is being impacted by domestic or sexual violence get in touch with someone locally who can help?

Call our hotline, it’s staffed 24/7- we can help with safety planning, answer questions, and offer community resources and provide emergency shelter. You can reach us through our hotline: 540-664-6466

How can the community help you during this time?

Any donation is helpful. We are first responders to situations of private violence- domestic and sexual abuse. I don’t think people see us as first responders and, as a result, it’s been a challenge to find resources to keep our staff and clients safe. We have a dedicated staff working overtime. Who see their roles as being critical to the safety of our community during the pandemic. We are staying open, providing essential services because violence does not diminish during a crisis.Our staff could use small gestures of encouragement, snacks and kind words would be greatly appreciated. We also definitely need supplies due to difficulty finding the things we need, so if anyone in the community has extra and would be willing to share their bounty, we would be so grateful:

  • PPE - Masks and gloves
  • Bottled water
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Pine Sol, Clorox
  • paper towels
  • Trash bags (contractor grade bags)

Drop any supplies off to 402 N. Cameron St., Winchester and leave it on the front porch. If you would like a donation receipt, just ring the buzzer.

If you want to make a financial donation, you can:
- do so on the www.thelaurelcenter.org
- donate on Facebook
- mail a check to 402 N. Cameron St., Winchester, VA 22601.

We also have an amazon list where you can shop directly and ship to us. 

---

To support the {save} initiative, shop on our website or on Amazon and purchase any product. 10% of each purchase from April will go directly to help fund The Laurel Center.

Faith Power and Michal Kicinski and Joanna Draniak-Kicinska on save Angel's Night event

[from the left] Faith Power, Michal Kicinski and Joanna Draniak-Kicinska on {save} Angel Night, a charity event organised in Winchester on Dec 12, 2019 where 100% of ticket sales went to support the Laurel Center.

---

top picture: Teal has become the signature color for sexual assault awareness. In the United States the month of April has been designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month since 2001.



Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published