- PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
- HAPPY HOLIDAYS FOR ALL: Beth Raub and Anna Clauson (Directors of Volunteers and Outreach) showcase giftcards that have been purchased with donated money for the Women’s Shelter of San Luis Obispo.
Thanksgiving has passed, igniting the Christmas fire under our tushes. Shopping season is in full force and the longing for tradition and family is seeping in right about now. Unfortunately for many families in SLO seeking shelter from violence and abuse, the holidays can put pressure on women to go back to an unsafe situation.
Directors of Volunteers and Outreach for the Women’s Shelter Program of SLO County, Beth Raub and Anna Clauson, are trying to make this Christmas a special one for women and children fleeing unfavorable environments by gifting them with a holiday in a way that some may think takes away from the spirit of gift giving.
“We used to collect all the items and have them come in and kind of shop. It was all donation,” Raub, coordinator of Ho-Ho-HOPE for the Holidays, said. “But what we have found is that for women, for their own empowerment, self-esteem and everything, gift cards were amazing.”
Gift cards may seem like impersonal gift ideas, but to a struggling mother being severed from possibly her only economic resource, being able to shop for what her children need herself can mean more than donating physical gifts.
“Jonny may not need a little truck and crayons and a coloring book. He may need a nice warm jacket,” Raub said. “She may need new pots and pans, but if they weren’t donated, then she doesn’t get those. So [with gift cards] she can get exactly what she needs.”
Four gift card packages can be donated, set with varying family sizes.
The $200 Joy Package for a mother and three children will provide a family with $120 to a store like Target or WalMart for gift shopping, and $80 for groceries at grocery stores like Vons or Albertsons. The $155 Peace Package for a mother and two children will provide a family with $95 for gifts and $60 for groceries. The $110 Love Package will provide a mother and child with $60 for gifts and $50 for groceries.
Donating to the Glow Package gifts a $25 gift card to teens and children in therapy and escaping any type of abusive situation.
“To me it’s a donation that gives dignity and allowing a mom to do what every mom wants to do for their kids. And that’s pick out special gifts that she knows her kids will love,” Clauson said.
Although their goal to provide 70 families with Thanksgiving donations was met by only 50 percent, Raub and Clauson are hopeful for the Christmas drive. Exceeding their 70 family goal would mean providing families with the building blocks to start new, healthy traditions and alleviate the pressure to return to an abusive relationship.
“We want to give that woman who has had the power and control taken away from her, we want to give that back in every way that we can. So even though a gift card may seem impersonal to the person who is donating it, it is such a neat way to empower a woman to create holiday traditions for her family,” Clauson said.
To donate to Ho-Ho-HOPE for the Holidays or for more information about the Women’s Shelter Program, visit womensshelterslo.org or call 781-6401 x 202. Donations are due Dec. 16. For immediate assistance all day long, call the 24-hour crisis line at 781-6400.
The Team Auto Collision Custom Center in Paso Robles will host the third annual Show Shine Car Bike Show Saturday, Dec. 7 to benefit Toys for Tots. Held at the Mid State fairgrounds, more than 400 hot rods, muscle cars, and motorcycles will be shown in conjunction with live music, barbecues, raffles and more than 30 other vendors. Show entrant registration begins at 8 a.m. and the event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is one unwrapped toy. For more information, call Edward at 238-6304.
Intern Tally Meyers compiled this week’s Strokes & Plugs. Send your business and nonprofit news to firstname.lastname@example.org.