Each year, the Easton Community Foundation designates six Central Ohio nonprofit organizations as part of its Change for Charity program. For two months at a time, each organization receives proceeds from the parking meters and parking tickets at Easton. Change for Charity recipients also benefit from on-property marketing opportunities, like signage and LED screen exposure, and the usage of the Easton Community Booth to grow their brand’s awareness and draw attention to their mission.
November and December’s Change for Charity beneficiary is LSS CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence, the only domestic violence shelter and crisis hotline serving Franklin County. Since 1977, the organization has provided counseling, shelter, crisis intervention, education, community and legal support, and advocacy to Central Ohio residents facing domestic violence. As part of the Lutheran Social Services Network of Hope, LSS CHOICES exists to interrupt the cycle of domestic violence and advocate for social change.
“We are so thankful for the support of the Easton Community Foundation’s Change for Charity program, especially during these trying times,” said Sue Villilo, assistant vice president of community-based services for Lutheran Social Services. “We all know change adds up and can make a real difference in being able to provide vital services to victims fleeing violence.”
A LARGER FACILITY TO SUPPORT THOSE WHO NEED IT MOST
In 2019, with the generosity of many donors and community members, LSS CHOICES opened an expanded shelter to support the growing amount of domestic violence victims. The number of beds more than doubled – from 51 in the old shelter to 120. CHOICES is in the process of adding 24 additional beds, which should be completed by February 2021. The facility is equipped with increased security measures and systems, from cameras and lighting, to an access control system and personal safety alarms for staff members. And to build more of a neighborhood atmosphere, the shelter has bedrooms, bathrooms, and sitting rooms for residents, and also offers communal areas, counseling rooms, a secure outdoor playground and garden, and pet enclosures and exercise areas for those who do not want to leave their pet with their abuser.
PROVIDING LIFE-SAVING SERVICES DURING A GLOBAL CRISIS
Unfortunately, cases of domestic violence are on the rise as the global pandemic wanes on, making LSS CHOICES’ facility and services even more important. The added space of the expanded facility allows for proper social distancing and all needed COVID-19 precautions. The shelter has removed tables and chairs from the dining areas, added hand-sanitizing stations throughout the building, and limited its group activity offerings, like art and dance classes, to six participants.
VISIT THE CLOTHESLINE PROJECT INSTALLATION AT EASTON
We are proud to support the important work of LSS CHOICES and we hope to bring needed attention to their mission. As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we collaborated with LSS CHOICES on a now-permanent installation of The Clothesline Project, a project that allows domestic violence survivors to decorate t-shirts in an effort to tell their stories and express their emotions. These shirts are then hung on a clothesline to be viewed by the public to signify the beginning of the healing process.
The Clothesline Project can be viewed inside the Easton Station Building. You can learn more about LSS CHOICES and make a contribution here.