A Northeast Nebraska school is trying to support survivors of domestic violence through one simple project: a donation supply drive.
Winside Public School’s human relationship class has teamed up with Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) to collect everyday supplies for Bright Horizons in Norfolk and Haven House in Wayne, two centers that offer services for people experiencing domestic or sexual abuse.
The drive was partly created to follow class curriculum but to also honor Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October, said Cali Heikes, Winside family and consumer sciences teacher and FCCLA adviser.
It’s the second year Winside is hosting a drive for this cause. Heikes came up with the idea in 2019, she said.
“We just got done talking with dating violence (in class) and I just decided to do it last year to see how it would go,” she said. “Every year around this time, Haven House also comes into the classroom and presents about its services for the community, so I had an idea about a supply drive to give back to them.”
Winside Public Schools will be hosting a class competition for the drive. Each classroom will compete against each other to see which one receives the most donations. The winning class will receive a Halloween party from the human relationships class and FCCLA.
Heikes said this strategy made students competitive last year. The school collected almost 900 items by the end of October. This year, Heikes’ goal is to reach at least 1,000 donations.
The school is asking for a specific list of items for both Bright Horizons and Haven House, Heikes said. This includes toiletries, cleaning supplies, Tylenol, cough syrup for children and adults, kitchen items, coats and more.
Maureen Carrigg, Haven House outreach coordinator, said the Wayne organization specifically needs feminine hygiene supplies, diapers, socks, non-perishable foods and gift cards to places like Hy-Vee and Casey’s so people can buy gas.
“We are hoping to make this a fall tradition because right now we can’t do as much outreach as we normally would do because of COVID-19 restrictions,” Carrigg said. “So supply drives with partners like Winside are crucial to us at this time because there are needs. We still have clients coming in.”
Carrigg said the pandemic hasn’t harshly affected Haven House, but it has limited the family shelter to house just one family instead of two. That also has meant fewer volunteers and a drop in walk-in traffic.
“The fact they are willing to do (the drive) during this time shows how thoughtful the students are at Winside,” Carrigg said. “Plus how they can feel compassion for people who may be in a situation they might not have control over. It’s very nice of them.”
Toilet bowl cleaner
Laundry soap and fabric sheets
Tall kitchen trash bags
Shampoo and conditioner
Feminine hygiene products
Diapers (size five and six) and wipes
Tylenol (child and adult)
Cold syrup (child and adult)
Brushes and combs
Pots, pans and dishes
Children’s coats (4T and up)
Hats and gloves (child and adult)