SafePlace supply drive now underway for local needs

Beth Senkbeil of Safeplace (left) and Sarah Emerson of the Marion County Domestic Violence Task Force hold up a flyer promoting their annual supply drive, which benefits local domestic violence survivors and their children who are being housed in the county’s shelter. Businesses, persons and organizations can donate supplies through the month of February.

By Kathryn “Chazz” Hirschfeld
Staff writer
HAMILTON — Two representatives of the Marion County Domestic Violence Task Force spoke to the Hamilton City Council during its Monday, Feb. 5, meeting regarding their annual supply drive, now underway.
MCDVTF Secretary Sarah Emerson and Safeplace Outreach Program Manager and Marion County Court Advocate Beth Senkbeil mentioned both the need for supplies, and the services offered by Safeplace.
Emerson explained the local task force is a non-profit organization with three main goals: raising supplies, funding and awareness for Safeplace.
“With advocacy and awareness, we are trying to break the ‘silence of domestic violence’ in Marion County,” Emerson said.
Training opportunities for schools, community organizations and law enforcement are available.
“We also raise funds and supplies to assist local victims and survivors of domestic violence and for Safeplace,” she said.
“Domestic violence is a real issue here in Marion County, also here in Hamilton. It’s sometimes tied to drugs and other crimes. Domestic violence is something we see almost every day, if not every week, here in our local area.”
She noted the State of Alabama recognizes domestic violence as a crime because “there should be safety in relationships.”
Emerson explained Safeplace is another non-profit organization, based in Florence, which the local task force partners with.
“We partner with them, as Beth and other advocates, work here in our local area. Beth travels to different courts, including here in Hamilton, working with survivors of domestic violence.
“We also have a shelter here in Marion County at an undisclosed location. At the shelter, they have local area-wide domestic violence survivors and their families.”
She noted law enforcement also partners with the shelter, and are able to help get people to the shelter.
“The shelter has been a great resource and they have been very busy since they opened in 2019,” she said.
She noted the MCDVTF has a few different main events throughout the year.
“We’re known for our golf tournament in October, as well as domestic violence awareness month and Purple Thursday,” she said. “But in the spring, we do our annual supply drive throughout the month of February.”
She noted the task force works to raise supplies for Safeplace with the goal of “what’s raised here, stays here.”
Continuing, she explained, “So what we raise here in Marion County, we want to stay here in Marion County and go to help victims and survivors of domestic violence here.”
They noted the finale of the supply drive will take place on Friday, March 1, at Shoppers Value in Hamilton.
“You can drop off supplies at Shoppers Value or other local collection places until then,” she said. “If someone wants to be a drop off location, they can get in touch with us.”
Emerson told the council the task force is very grateful for the support of the City of Hamilton.
“We are glad to be a part of a community who takes this issue seriously,” she noted.
Senkbeil also expressed her and Safeplace’s appreciation.
“We thank the mayor, the city council and the community for the continued support we have received for our organization,” she said. “We cannot do it without your help, so thank you.”
Besides supplies, the local task force also accepts monetary donations. Funds can be made out to the MCDVTF, which supports Safeplace through its own donations, as well as provides funds to other vendors who support survivors and their needs. Safeplace also accepts monetary donations, as well.

Items needed
Emerson was asked to share some of the top items on their wish list.
“It’s a very long list,” she noted. “They are always looking for towels and sheets, and hygiene products.”
Also needed are blankets, books, ladies’ and childrens’ socks and underwear, journals, household and medical supplies, as well as non-perishable goods, plus much more.
She noted wish lists of supply needs are being posted on flyers throughout the county. A complete list can be found on the organization’s Facebook page at MarionCo DVTF. Additional drop off locations can also be found there.
“We are primarly dealing with women and children here in Marion County, which is something to take into consideration when gathering supplies,” Emerson explained.
“But there are also some men housed up in the shelter in Florence.”
Mayor Bob Page said he wanted the city to get active in some way to support the efforts of the task force.
“We’ll get a group together and say these are our efforts for Safeplace,” he said. “We really want to help you.”
Senkbeil noted most of the individuals who come into the shelter usually just have the clothes on their backs.

See complete story in the Journal Record.
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