SAFE Holiday Programs were designed to provide families with the joy most of us associate with the holiday season. Many of us take this season of joy for granted, but for those beginning to heal from sexual assault and exploitation, child abuse and neglect, and domestic violence, a tiny bit of joy can make all the difference in the healing process.
The healing process can begin with shelter and safety. For many, that means staying in emergency shelter on either the ACS or SafePlace campus, or receiving counseling and advocacy services. More often, it means a combination of those. But an integral part of the healing process is also joy; something that the children, families and survivors in our care often don’t have much of during the holiday season. Many of those staying with us face financial hardship and families find themselves on the brink of homelessness, with scarcely any resources at their disposal. Or have no family at all with whom to share the holidays with. Amidst this stress and turmoil it can be hard for the holidays to ignite that flame of joy. SAFE Holiday Giving Programs are just a small way we try to reignite that joyous flame. But we need your help.
- Sponsor a Family– SafePlace’s Sponsor a Family program allows a donor to be assigned to shop for holiday gifts for a family or individual who is a client at SafePlace. Sponsors are matched with families living in our transitional housing or families we serve that live out in the community. Each family includes at least one SafePlace client. They may be women, men or children who are survivors of sexual or domestic violence or abuse.
- Project Santa – Austin Children’s Shelter’s Project Santa fills the needs of children and families we serve both during the holiday season and beyond. Our staff and volunteers work hard to ensure these families, youth and children still have a warm and memorable holiday season through Project Santa. We strongly encourage donations to be dropped off at one of the three designated times: Sat. Dec. 12th 9:00 am – 12:00 pm; Sun. Dec. 13th 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm; Mon. Dec. 14th 5:00 pm – 7:15 pm
- Shop for the Shelter– SafePlace’s Shop for the Shelter program fills the needs of our shelter clients and families who will not be able to participate in the Sponsor a Family program due to time constraints. All donations collected for this program are displayed in the shelter, and our shelter clients then pick gifts for their family members staying with us – parents pick for their children and the children get to pick for their parents. The need for this program is great and all donations are much appreciated.
- ACS Gift Card Drive & SafePlace Gift Card Drive – If you aren’t a shopper but would like to help, we encourage you to donate gift cards. Gift cards, in any amount, allow our clients a little control over their own lives–something many have been denied. Gift cards let our clients buy their own groceries and other essentials; or take their family out for some much-needed fun with gift cards for movie tickets and restaurants.
We hope that you will join us in creating magic for our survivors and their families this holiday season. Please contact SafePlace Community Relations Coordinator, Erin Cooper or Austin Children’s Shelter Community Relations Coordinator, Lindsay Contreras for questions or concerns.