Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Real Magic of the Closet

The Chamber of Southern Saratoga County has a little known secret:

Right in the middle of their office, there's a magic closet.

It began as an ordinary storage closet, but six years ago the Women in Business (WIB) Committee determined to help women and children and that’s when the magic started. The committee collected items to help women who are fleeing abuse.  Initially they collected personal care items for the Baskets of Hope program to give to women living in DVRC’s domestic violence shelter. As the committee heard about how hard it can be to start a new violence-free life, they decided to do even more. Each January they assemble New Beginnings Baskets filled with basic household items (can openers, dishtowels, alarm clocks, first aid kits, etc.) to help domestic violence survivors who are starting over. And each August they collect school supplies and assemble over 100 fully stocked back-to-school backpacks for the Backpacks of Hope. In six years the WIB committee has given over 2,500 baskets and backpacks to help survivors of family violence.

And back to that magic closet… throughout the year  Chamber members and individuals from the community generously donate all the supplies for these projects, The supplies are stored in that closet awaiting the meeting when the WIB committee assembles them in decorative baskets. Inevitably the month before the assembly someone peeks into the closet and like Mother Hubbard expresses concern to the WIB members that  the closet is nearly empty. But when assembly day comes, unfailingly the closet is bursting at the seams with supplies to help these families begin their new life.

WIB members are always astounded that supplies appear by the magic… but the real magic is the passion and dedication that every member of the Women in Business Committee has in helping other women to be free from abuse and to raise their children in a home without violence.

Liz Roggenbuck, of the Chamber talks about the recent Backpacks of Hope collection.   

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