NEWARK, Ohio, Dec. 28, 2017—Sarah Terry knows the value of a helping hand. She also understands the uncertainty faced by women who have experienced domestic violence—because she's been there herself. That's why the Fairfield County resident started The Project, which completed its second year of providing holiday gift packs to victims of domestic violence living in local shelters. On Dec. 22 Terry helped dozens of local women and children know that they are not alone as she delivered 50 gift packs to two area shelters and a substance abuse recovery center: The Center for New Beginnings in Newark, New Directions Domestic Abuse Shelter and Rape Crisis Center in Mount Vernon and Courage House, a residential substance abuse recovery center in Newark. She also made sure that any children living in the shelter would have something to open on Christmas.
"I just want to let these woman and children know that they are not alone, especially during the holidays; that they can get through this difficult time and find a new and better life," said Terry.
Local organizations donated everything from fleece blankets, to goodies, snacks and personal hygiene items. Terry, a College Completion Coach at Central Ohio Technical College (COTC), had the full support of her campus colleagues, who chipped in with donations as well as helped with sorting, packing and delivery. COTC also provided nylon string bags as a useful and fun way to pack the items. Donations came from both corporate and personal sponsors: Barnes and Noble, Target, Walmart, McDonald's, the Courtyard by Marriott, Michelle DePuy, Mr. and Mrs. John Kanouse, Mike Hoppe, Mary Terry and Tonia Osborne.
Michele Lawrence, owner of Newark's Chrysalis Hair Designs, took The Project one step further by offering free hairstyling for the women at Courage House. She and stylist Mollie Sims took turns visiting the center on Dec. 6 and 7, where the women gathered around the kitchen table for haircuts and blow drying.
"Every one of us needs help at some time," said Lawrence. "I'm passionate about helping people, and these women perhaps need a little more inspiration right now."
Terry said she's very pleased and grateful for the tremendous support this year's project received. "We all can make a difference. We each just need to start," she said.
The Project will be in full swing again in the spring, as Terry gathers personal hygiene items as well as potted flowers for each woman.