Greenwich teen group collects toiletries for domestic violence victims
GREENWICH — When victims of domestic violence leave their abusers, often they depart home with no money, no clothes, not even a tooth brush.
Middle and high schoolers from Greenwich’s Jewish Community Council Teen Action Committee are trying to address this need.
In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness month, the Teen Action Committee is conducting a month-long drive to collect toiletries for women and children seeking refuge from abusive relationships.
“As much we have, we will give,” said Leah Schechter, assistant director of the JCC Greenwich.
The group of about a dozen teens have been collecting shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, soap, lotion, hair products and baby supplies at the JCC during the month of October. They also collected supplies at the YWCA Greenwich’s screening of “The Children Next Door,” a film about the effect of domestic violence on children, at Bow Tie Cinemas in Greenwich on Oct. 25.
At the end of the month, the teens will package the supplies into emergency shelter bags that will be given to the YWCA Greenwich, Greenwich’s only licensed provider of domestic abuse services, and the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, which also aids domestic violence victims.
“We have stuff overflowing at this point already,” said Schechter, although she urged community members to continue donating through the end of October.
This is the first year that the JCC has conducted the toiletry drive. Schechter said the idea for the initiative came directly from the teens.
“The kids wanted to do this,” she said. “Domestic abuse or abusive relationships are on their minds, but isn’t the typical feeding the hunger, or helping the blind or giving toys to sick children.”
The teens recognized that they couldn’t help victims directly in shelters because of confidentiality and safety precautions, so donating toiletries was a good way to get involved indirectly.
“Teens look for ways to resolve the things they see in the world around them,” Schecter explained.
She added, “It matters what the end goal is, but its matters most that they are together and making an impact.”