Toys and games lie in a pile at the Domestic Violence Intervention Program holiday store. The toys were collected as part of a gift drive for people affected by domestic violence and will be laid out on tables and organized before the store, which is free for victims, opens on December 1st. (Emily Andersen/The Gazette)
Alta Medea, the community engagement leader for the Domestic Violence Intervention Program, is organizing custom-sized pajamas in preparation for the program’s Holiday Store, where domestic violence survivors can select free Christmas gifts for themselves and their children. (Emily Andersen/The Gazette)
Alta Medea, Director of Community Engagement for the Domestic Violence Intervention Program, is organizing custom-sized pajamas in preparation for the program’s Holiday Store, where domestic violence survivors can select free Christmas gifts for themselves and their children. (Emily Andersen/The Gazette)
Allison Tippe, volunteer coordinator for the Domestic Violence Intervention Program, organizes custom-sized pajamas in preparation for the program’s Holiday Store, where domestic violence survivors can select free Christmas gifts for themselves and their children, including a new pair of pajamas. (Emily Andersen/The Gazette)
Allison Tippe and Alta Medea organize pajamas by size in preparation for the Domestic Violence Intervention Program’s Holiday Store, where survivors of domestic violence can choose free Christmas gifts for themselves and their children. (Emily Andersen/The Gazette)
The Iowa City Domestic Violence Intervention Program is hosting a gift drive benefiting survivors of domestic violence in November.
The ride began on November 4th and will run until December 24th. Several Johnson County businesses and organizations are participating. Each location has a gift collection barrel with an attached list of gift items needed.
Participating locations include:
- City of Iowa Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., Iowa City
- Orschel Farm & Home, 655 Hollywood Blvd., Iowa City
- Williowwind School, 950 Dover St., Iowa City
- First Presbyterian Church, 2701 Rochester Ave., Iowa City
- Lepic-Kroeger Broker, 2346 Mormon Trek Blvd., Iowa City
- Zen Salon & Spa, 4 S. Linn St., Iowa City
- Scheels, 1461 Coral Ridge Avenue, Coralville
- Iowa Gym-Nest, 2550 Holiday Rd., Coralville
- Applebee’s Bar & Grill, 200 12th Avenue Center, Coralville
- Bluebird Diner, 650 W. Cherry St., North Liberty
- Reds Alehouse, 405 N. Dubuque St., North Liberty
Items collected during the trip will be used to fill the program’s Holiday Store in Iowa City, where domestic violence survivors can select free gifts for themselves and their children, according to Alta Medea, the nonprofit’s director of community engagement. The Holiday Store program is an annual program that has been running for about 20 years.
“Being able to give your child this opportunity to shop and choose something meaningful for your child really impacts our customers and we opened the Holiday Store with that in mind,” Medea said. “Kids’ opinions and desires change fairly frequently, and being able to just let the parents get the art supplies because their kid just started drawing, because they’ve never done that before… it’s not necessarily something that.” a stranger will do knows.”
Each parent who comes to the store can choose three large gifts, three small gifts, a pair of pajamas, a blanket and a pillowcase for each of their children. Parents of teens can get a Target or Walmart gift card instead of choosing toys. Parents can also choose a gift for themselves.
Children currently residing in the program’s accommodation can come to the store with a juvenile advocate to select a gift for their parents.
“One of the people we worked with last year … she came in and picked an item and we said, ‘OK, you have five more to do,’ and she just started crying … She could do hers 5-year-old daughter never buy a gift for the holidays. It wasn’t something her abuser allowed her to do. Being able to give a gift often comes naturally to us,” said Medea.
Squishmallows are the most requested gift for kids this year, closely followed by Bluetooth headphones, Minecraft toys and African American dolls, according to Allison Tippe, the domestic violence intervention program’s volunteer coordinator.
“Another important thing is getting sets of things like Lego sets, Hot Wheels sets, not just a Hot Wheels car, but getting the whole set,” Tippe said. “One thing that was very popular last year and I hope we get it back was play kitchens.”
Tippe said she also hopes to see a wider range of gifts for adults and more pajama options for older children this year. While the Holiday Store usually has plenty of pajamas for young children, there aren’t as many donated pajamas that fit older children and teens, many of whom wear adult sizes.
Medea said the program has received gift cards and cash donations that she will use to fill fundraising gaps, such as buying larger sizes of pajamas.
The Holiday Store will open for survivors from Thursday December 1 and Medea said appointments for the first few days after opening are already booked. The store is open to anyone who has received benefits under the Domestic Violence Intervention Program in the past year or to anyone seeking help between now and Christmas.
Donation baskets will remain open through Christmas Eve, and any toys collected but not used that year will be used to fill the program’s year-round birthday cupboard, or will be saved and offered in next year’s store.
“Holidays are often a really tough time for trauma victims for many reasons, and any way we can alleviate some of that stress certainly helps in that healing process,” Medea said.
Lifeline of the Domestic Violence Intervention Program, Iowa City: 1-(800) 373-1043
Waypoint Resources and Domestic Violence Support Line, Cedar Rapids: 1-(800) 208-0388
Comments: (319) 398-8328; [email protected]