Go grocery shopping on Saturday and support DVIP as it helps survivors of domestic violence

Shop for Shelter

Saturday, Oct. 13 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at all Iowa City and Coralville Hy-Vees and Fareways

Hy-Vee in Overland Park, Kansas — Dean Hochman/Flickr

From 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, grocery shoppers at all the Hy-Vees in Iowa City and Coralville, as well as the Fareway off Highway 6 (near Scott Boulevard), will have a chance to help the Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP) in its mission to provide necessary services for survivors of domestic violence.

Saturday will be the 15th annual “Shop for Shelter.” Held every October, the event helps DVIP stock its shelves for up to nine months, enabling it to help the adults and children it serves each year. Interested shoppers will be asked to buy a few of the listed items along with their own groceries, and then put the items for DVIP in a donation drop-off cart at the entrances of the store.

“In-kind donations are a crucial part of our work in helping victim-survivors,” Alta Medea-Peters, director of Community Engagement for DVIP, said in a statement. “Our clients often have to leave everything behind. The items that are purchased during Shop for Shelter won’t just sit on a shelf. These goods are making a real difference in the lives of victim-survivors.”

“Our program alone has experienced a 28 percent increase in hotline calls each month since May of 2020,” Media-Peters said. “These calls have directly resulted in a doubling of the services our advocates have provided over the past year and show how urgent the need for resources is within the communities we serve.”

Between July 2020 and July 2021, DVIP provided services for 2,189 individuals. In addition to its 24-hour emergency shelter — which is more important now than ever, since there are only eight domestic violence shelters left in Iowa — the nonprofit also has 24/7 hotline, and provides safety planning, trauma-informed one-on-one counseling and mobile advocacy.

DVIP also assists survivors’ pets, so they don’t have to be left behind. It provides emergency shelter and vet services, as well foster accommodations if needed. Food and other pet items will be included on Saturday’s shopping lists.

Volunteers in the stores will provide shoppers interested in participating with a list of items that DVIP needs to help those who rely on its services. The lists include such everyday necessities as diapers, wipes, shampoo, soap and laundry detergent, as well as shelf-stable food items.

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 now DVIP covers eight counties in southeastern Iowa — Johnson, Iowa, Cedar, Des Moines, Henry, Lee, Van Buren and Washington.

Anyone interested in being a volunteer for Shop for Shelter can fill out a form online. DVIP is looking for volunteers for its other programs, as well, and donations, both monetary and goods, are accepted throughout the year.

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