Columbia- Back to school time is approaching in Columbia, but for men and women living at The Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, an emergency shelter for domestic abuse, school supplies are the last thing on their minds.
“Imagine leaving home in the middle of the night, only grabbing whatever you can in your hands,” said Brenda Baker, The Shelter’s director of development. “You’re not worried about your kid’s backpack.”
To help The Shelter, which serves those fleeing abusive situations, Verizon Wireless is holding its first backpack drive to provide backpacks to children in need and prepare them for school. Although The Shelter is not directly involved with organizing the drive, it is the only beneficiary.
Baker explained that a Columbia real estate company is donating school supplies, and The Shelter was pleasantly surprised when they received a call from Verizon.
“They called and asked if they could help,” Baker said. “I said we could use backpacks, and they said they could help.”
Cheryl Bini Armbrecht, a local spokesperson for Verizon Wireless, said that company’s main philanthropic concern is domestic violence prevention.
“Last year we started in the Columbia market, and since then we have tried to provide small grants and help out as much as we can,” she said.
The drive, which started Tuesday, continues until Aug. 19. Backpacks can be dropped off at the Verizon Store at 303 N. Stadium Blvd. during normal business hours.
“We are grateful to be benefiting from the drive,” said Baker, “and we are so appreciative of the community’s support.”