Editor’s Note: Fourth in a series of stories during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

In an effort to support the mission of Spring­Haven, Robin Wood of Lebanon Junction and Stella Harris of Elizabethtown plan on making a large donation of clothing to the Elizabethtown domestic violence shelter.

SpringHaven offers services for clients facing domestic violence or dating violence and their dependents in Breckinridge, Grayson, Hardin, LaRue, Marion, Meade, Nelson and Washington counties. The shelter offers residential services, victim advocacy, education and counseling.

SpringHaven also helps clients who have experienced sexual assault, working hand-in-hand with SANE Nurses at Baptist Health Hardin and with Silverleaf Sexual Trauma Recovery Services, according to SpringHaven executive director Tanya Thomas.

“Since we are a domestic violence shelter program, we can provide that shelter component that a victim needs when they do not want to go back to an apartment or a place of residence where an assault may have occurred,” Thomas said.

Wood said after expressing interest in donating clothes to a local organization, she was told about SpringHaven’s mission from a customer.

“It’s really benefiting the community,” Wood said. “They have so many amazing programs. I was just really impressed.”

Wood said she and Harris have been in business together for the past five years, offering products from clothing brand LuLa­Roe and other accessories and clothing products. She said because they only display their newest clothing pieces on their website and social media pages, older pieces sometimes are sold in wholesale to other retailers. This time, they decided to instead donate them.

“We were kind of just like ‘Let’s find some way to benefit the community as much as we can,’” Wood said.

Soon after learning more about Spring­Ha­ven, Wood and Harris started their Sponsor a Hanger campaign and began spreading the word on social media. Those who contributed to the campaign could “sponsor a hanger” for $5, which helped recoup the cost of purchasing the products. In just a few weeks, the business partners have accumulated 100 sponsorships.

Wood said they are prepared to donate 200 pieces of clothing to SpringHaven, including tops, dresses and leggings.

“It’s a privilege to work with them because they do so much for our community and I’m looking forward to having a partnership to keep doing this,” she said.

Thomas said any in-season clothing donation is a welcome addition to their donation closet, especially since clothing donations previously were restricted during COVID-19. She said sometimes when clients visit the shelter, the only clothes they have in their possession are the ones they are wearing.

“Imagine leaving your house or apartment in a hurry, not having time to pack your things and all you have is your purse,” she said. “Our clothing room becomes their lifeline for pajamas, clothes, socks and shoes. When people donate, I’m not sure if they realize the magnitude of the donation. It goes a long way.”

Thomas said Spring­Haven was forced to make several operational changes in the past year because of the pandemic, including social distancing, a face mask rule, regular COVID tests for staff members and clients, the installation of hand sanitizing machines and the implementation of a weekly facility disinfecting service. She said at times, SpringHaven operated an additional shelter in a local hotel to ensure health safety while families were being tested for COVID-19.

“This is time consuming and not cost effective; however, it is something we had to do to keep everyone safe,” she said.

Those interested in donating to SpringHaven can call 270-765-4057 and those who may need help from the organization are encouraged to call 1-800-767-5838.

Andrew Critchelow can be reached at 270-505-1413 or acritchelow@thenewsenterprise.com.

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