It’s just a tote bag, really. Granted, a really nice one that will last a decade or more, but still, how life-changing can it be?
The tote is filled with small sundries one might need when travelling, when on the run, so to speak. It’s got soap, shampoo and conditioner. Maybe some deodorant, baby wipes and a few diapers. Things we might take for granted but when you are on the run and seek refuge in a shelter for victims of domestic violence, these items can be on short supply.
That’s where Totes for Hope comes in. Sarah Sevrie-Ashton works each Fall to collect as many new totes as she can. She then gathers needed personal care items and fills each tote with personal care items. The totes are brand new, which is important for those who may be most in need of our compassion as quality equals dignity.
For Sarah, it’s about more than doing a good deed for a stranger. For her it’s personal: as a child she was a resident guest in the Unity House shelter for victims of domestic violence. It was a different facility and a different time, but much is still the same. The Unity House shelter serves people seeking help to get themselves, and often their children, away from dangerous situations. For victims of domestic violence, access to affordable and stable housing is often a barrier to leaving an abusive situation. That’s why comprehensive domestic violence services programs are a lifeline to victims seeking help.
Unity House is grateful to Sarah for giving back in such a personal way. Her experiences offer hope to others and her dedication to giving back is inspiring. Really, it’s much more than a tote bag, anyone can see that. It’s care and compassion delivered in a way that honors someone’s dignity, offering hope at a time when it’s needed.
If you would like to purchase a Tote for Hope or help fill one with needed personal care items, consider making a donation to Sarah’s project. Or host a drive for personal care items to help fill the totes. For more information and to be connected to Sarah, contact the Unity House Development Office at (518) 274-2607 x4134.
On behalf of those we serve, thank you for your support.
Help is always available for victims of dating and domestic abuse at Unity House’s 24-Hour Emergency Domestic Violence Hotline at (518) 272-2370