Holidays are typically filled with joy, love, and time spent with family. Unfortunately for many of our clients, it is a time where they are coming out of crisis and trauma, often leaving them feeling sad and lonely. There can be a silver lining however; when individuals in our community come together to use their time and talents to give back to those who need to feel the warmth of the season the most.
We were honored to find out that Vera Bradley selected our organization as their charity of choice to receive a $50,000 donation for Giving Tuesday 2018. YWCA was ecstatic about this financial contribution. Their gift will significantly help our programs and clients by employing additional staff and renovating our residential spaces.
When the holidays draw near, families often come together to decorate their homes. Vera Bradley made it their mission to fill our space full of holiday spirit and décor which started with donating their beautifully decorated tree from the Festival of Trees to us. Following this, members from their leadership team visited our mission space on the first Friday in December and placed a hand-crafted wreath on every bedroom door that each of our clients calls their home. Often the families who come to us are fleeing their homes from domestic violence and are not able to bring personal items with them that they would normally cherish during this time of year.
One of the most exciting parts of Christmas is watching their kids open gifts from Santa and family. Naturally during this time of year, a parent’s focus is only on their kids and not on themselves. Knowing this, Vera Bradley donated a plush throw blanket to each family living in our domestic violence shelter and a travel cosmetic organizer to every woman in our residential addictions recovery program - both of which our clients were very thankful for. Additionally, Vera Bradley saw an opportunity for the mothers in our shelter to receive gifts from their children and donated various items such as bath robes, slippers and stockings for our kids to shop from and give to their mom on Christmas.
Every year with the help of volunteers, YWCA hosts a holiday party for our clients to gather for a festive meal and a visit from Santa. This year, team members from Vera Bradley volunteered to serve food and hosted a hot chocolate bar that the children thoroughly enjoyed. It’s at events like these that our clients relax and start to feel a sense of happiness. To give each client a piece of this happiness to take home with them, the photography team from Vera Bradley set up a winter-themed backdrop and took family photos with Santa for each of our clients. They even had a printer on site with magnetic frames for our clients to hang the photos in their living areas that evening.
YWCA Northeast Indiana would like to extend our sincere appreciation and gratitude to the Vera Bradley team for everything they did to make the holidays a true season of giving back to our clients! As a thank you, the younger clients of YWCA crafted a hand-printed canvas wreath for our friends at Vera Bradley to hang in their headquarters.