On Monday, the Chiefs Women’s Organization (CWO) visited Rose Brooks Center (RBC), which provides emergency shelter to women and children escaping life-threatening abuse, as well as, offering tools and resources to begin rebuilding their lives.
“Rose Brooks Center is a domestic violence program that saves the lives of women and children every single day of the year,” Joan Dougherty, Director of Volunteers and Community Support at RBC explained. “We have 100 women and children living in our emergency center and also transitional housing and outreach programs.”
The center helps protect women and children who need to escape danger and find the support needed to start a life free of violence. The shelter provides counselors, classes, help finding a home, a job, health care and legal services.
Through Rosie’s Closet, RBC also provides a place for women to shop for essential toiletry items and clothing for their family.
“These women come to this shelter looking for help, with nothing but the clothing on their back, so we need to provide everything for them,” Dougherty said. “We have a clothing bank called Rosie’s Closet, it’s a place for them to come and shop to provide for their family. We receive donations from the community, sort those donations, and then the ladies shop at Rosie’s, at no cost to them.”
The CWO helped organize and sort through clothing and supplies that had been donated for Rosie’s Closet. A few days a week, women are able to redeem “Rosie Bucks,” a paper currency that’s received after completing chores or helping out around the shelter, for clothing in Rosie’s Closet.
Three to five women are allowed to shop at a time and they only have thirty minutes to shop through the closet. This means they need to be able to easily find what they are looking for and be efficient while shopping.
“These women need to be able to find things easily since they have a limited amount of time to shop,” Kristine Burkholder, CWO member explained. “We split up into three groups. The first group sorted items in the supply room, organizing toiletries, towels and other essential supplies. The second group went through the donated clothes to check for rips or stains and then brought them to our third group, who hung up and organized the clothes in Rosie’s Closet.”
This event hit close to home for Burkholder, who had experienced a home where domestic violence was present while growing up.
“Coming from a family where violence was in the house, it means a lot to help at this shelter,” Burkholder said. “I was also in the military and regularly volunteered at women’s shelters and interacted with women who had experienced violence in their home. It’s a difficult situation and but a situation that came be overcome.”
RBC strives to be the place that women can overcome the battle with violence in their life. It is a safe place for women to feel protected and a place for them to learn and grow.
“Rosie’s Closet is a great way to get involved and support something that is near and dear to mine and Andrew’s hearts,” Tammy Reid, CWO member noted. “I want to help these women break that chain of violence and be independent and realize that there are better things in life and a place to help you.”
As the holiday season approaches, Rosie’s Closet is in need of clothing items such as coats, socks and undergarments, as well as, toys for young children. Every December, the RBC holds a Holiday Store Donation Drop-Off Point at Ward Parkway Shopping Center, where the community is able to drop off items, from clothing to toys and the women can shop for those items through Rosie’s Closet.
“Through the holiday program, Rosie’s Closet gives mothers the opportunity to shop for the holidays,” Dougherty noted. “For many mothers, it’s their first time to be able to provide presents for their children so it’s very special, and it’s also really neat because the children get the chance to shop for their moms too.”
The Holiday Store begins on Monday, December 2nd and runs through Wednesday, December 18th at 8600 Ward Parkway in Kansas City, Missouri. For more information and to find out what to donate visit Holiday Wish List 2013.
To volunteer or donate items to Rosie’s Closet visit RBC’s website here. Or if you need someone to listen, talk with you about services or a safe place to stay, call 816-861-6100. RBC is there to break the cycle of domestic violence and provide a safe shelter for women in need.