Donate gift items to help the Domestic Violence Intervention Program brighten the holidays for kids

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From now until Dec. 24, the Domestic Violence Intervention Program is accepting donations of toys and other gifts for its annual holiday store. — Lauren Shotwell/Little Village

All year round the Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP) provides support and advocacy services for victims and survivors of domestic violence, and each year at this time, it also helps its provide holiday cheer for children.

From now until Christmas Eve, DVIP is accepting donations of toys and other gifts for its annual Holiday Store. The store offers DVIP clients a secure and confidential place to find gifts for children at no charge. During 2018, the Iowa City-based nonprofit has helped 900 individuals in Johnson County, and 1899 in all eight counties it serves, and as DVIP notes on its site, “that makes a pretty big list for Santa!”

DVIP grew out of an initiative launched by the University of Iowa’s Women’s Resource and Action Center in the late 1970s. It opened its first shelter for people threatened by domestic violence in 1980, and DVIP now covers eight counties in southeastern Iowa — Johnson, Iowa, Cedar, Des Moines, Henry, Lee, Van Buren and Washington — and its Holiday Store has been an annual tradition for four decades.

Donated items should be new, and DVIP has the following suggestions:

Lego sets, Play kitchen sets, Doctor sets, Babydolls, Superhero action figures, Train sets, Board games, Musical toys, Teething toys, Movie theater gift certificates, DVD’s rated G to PG-13, Play-doh, Toy animals, Dinosaurs, Hot Wheels cars & tracks, Barbies, Infant play mats, AA & AAA batteries, Stacking blocks, Push toys, Bikes, Skateboards, Scooters, Sports equipment, Science/Educational Kits

Unwrapped gifts can be donated through Wednesday, Dec. 19 at Little Village’s office in Iowa City, 623 Dubuque St. The office is opened Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There are four other Iowa City drop-off locations: Iowa City Chamber of Commerce (325 E. Washington St.), Lepic Kroeger Realtors (2346 Mormon Trek Blvd.), Muddy Feet Yoga Studio (1705 S 1st Ave.) and Zen Salon and Spa (4 S Linn St).

Elsewhere in Johnson County, gifts can dropped off at these locations.

Coralville: Applebees, 200 12th Avenue Center

North Liberty: North Liberty Bluebird Café, 650 W Cherry St. #9

Solon: Solon Community Center, 313 S Iowa St.

West Branch: Plastic Products Co., 228 Tidewater Dr.

Anyone interested in other ways to support DVIP can find opportunities to volunteer on its website.

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