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 brighten the season for children with its Holiday Store.
“The holidays can be a stressful time for anyone and victim-survivors are no different,” Alta Medea-Peters, DVIP’s director of community engagement, said in a statement. “The cultural expectation added to the trauma that families experience is often overwhelming. Having our Holiday Store ensures no family is left out of the magic of the season.”
Now through Friday, Dec. 23, DVIP is accepting donations of new toys and other gifts for the Holiday Store. The parents the nonprofit is assisting then browse the store and choose gifts for their kids at no cost.
As in previous years, there will be donation barrels at various locations in Iowa City, Coralville and North Liberty, where people can drop off gift items for the Holiday Store. Each barrel has a list with suggestions for items to donate – including larger toys and games, stocking stuffers and things such as socks and pajamas, as well as gift cards.
Barrels can be found at the following locations:
First Presbyterian Church (2701 Rochester Ave)
Iowa City Public Library (123 S Linn St)
Lepic-Kroeger Realtors (2346 Mormon Trek Blvd)
Orscheln Farm & Home (655 Hollywood Blvd)
Willowwind School (950 Dover St)
Zen Salon & Spa (4 S Linn St)
Applebees (200 12th Ave)
Iowa Gym-Nest (2550 Holiday Rd)
Scheels (Coral Ridge Mall)
Bluebird Diner (50 W Cherry St)
Red’s Ale House (405 N Dubuque St)
Donations can also be dropped off at DVIP’s main office in Iowa City (1105 S Gilbert Ct Suite 300) on Mondays between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. from Nov. 7 through Dec. 19.
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. 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.
Information on how to donate to DVIP, including donating time as a volunteer, is available on its site.