Helping Hands

Residents of Chautauqua County who have also been victims of domestic violence will soon be receiving assistance from two sources.

On Monday, the Salvation Army Anew Center received a check in the amount of $25,000 from Verizon Wireless at its Jamestown location.

The proceeds from the donation will help domestic abuse victims who have left their abusers deal with the challenge of starting life anew. According to Stacey Tanner, program director for the Anew Center, this will be achieved in two ways.

“Part of the funds will be going toward billboards throughout all of Chautauqua County to raise awareness for domestic violence services that are available in our county, and the other portion of the funds will be going toward kits for victims of domestic violence and their families,” Tanner said. “Often times, they’ve left behind everything. So, some of the things that we take for granted on a daily basis, are the things that we’re going to be able to provide for them when they get their new home.”

Tanner said she anticipates 100 kits to be assembled, at between $150 to $200 each, with the funds made available to the center. The kits will include several items such as: pots, pans, silverware, mops, laundry detergent, sponges, glasses and bath towels.

Also on hand for the check presentation were John O’Malley, Verizon public relations manager for the Upstate New York region, and Capt. John Merchant, Salvation Army corps officer for the Jamestown Area.

“Domestic violence has been a community issue that (Verizon) has tried to address for years,” O’Malley said. “We’ve worked with Salvation Army in the past, and they’re a great organization that is doing great work locally. We had some funding available, and we had the opportunity to reach out and say, ‘What can we help you with?’ I always say it’s organizations like the Salvation Army that are down there on the front lines doing the work, and we’re just fortunate that we have some resources available that we can provide them with to help them do that.”

Merchant said the funding received by the Salvation Army will provide a great opportunity to spread the word about where victims of domestic violence can turn for safety.

“Our community has a lot of domestic violence, and sometimes I don’t feel that the community is aware of where the resources are,” he said. “And then, after they’ve received the help they need, they’re going to get extra help when they go into their new houses if they so choose.”

The Salvation Army Anew Center is the only licensed domestic violence center for Chautauqua County. For those in need of shelter or other services related to domestic violence, the center hotline can be reached at 1-800-252-8748.