Yes, my pinky fingernails are painted purple. Did you know that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month? The Purple Pinkie Project was started in New York to honor the life of Alex Kogut, who lost her life to domestic violence from her boyfriend.
Last week, my friend, Judy Yates (who is the shelter coordinator for the MCSA Domestic Violence Shelter) was on my “Hy-Vee Today with Tony Tone” show to talk about domestic violence and painted my pinkies! Judy also shared that the domestic violence shelter was (as of last Thursday) at capacity housing women and their children who fled domestic violence. She also shared that so far in 2019, the shelter’s crisis line (563) 263-8080 (answered 24/7) has received 500 phone calls. It can be a tough conversation to have or think about. Domestic Violence is real and unfortunately effects both women, men, and children in Muscatine County.
I was able to tour the shelter a couple of years back on a day that it was empty. We signed a confidentiality agreement and walked into what truly is a home. The MCSA website describes the shelter as, “[providing] a warm home-style living setting. Bedrooms are assigned and include all bedding and pillows. Guests share living, full kitchen, bathroom spaces, and laundry. The Shelter provides plenty of room for children to play and family space.”
That description is 100% accurate, and if I’m being honest, the experience of touring the shelter was overwhelming and emotional. I like to think of myself as a compassionate and empathetic person, but the thought of local women and children literally leaving their home with only the clothes on their backs to seek shelter is hard for me to grasp or accept. I want to live in a world that doesn’t require the MCSA Domestic Violence Shelter to exist. The world is not a perfect place and we need to ensure our shelter-home can remain a safe haven for women and children in Muscatine County.
So what can we do? The shelter is constantly in need of the basic supplies things you purchase for your family on a weekly basis, toilet paper, kleenex, cleaning wipes, garbage bags, diapers, baby wipes, just to name a few. I would encourage you to call MCSA at (563) 264-3278 and ask what the Domestic Violence Shelter currently needs. A few years back, the shelters doors nearly closed, but our incredible community stepped up to the plate and kept it open.
I’m proud of Judy Yates and her staff that serves women and children in their toughest moments. We need to continue raising awareness, donating goods, and funding the shelter.
For my birthday this year, I opted to do one the of those birthday fundraisers via my Facebook page. I’m happy to report over $400 was collected for the shelter. I’d implore you to do the same, whether it be for the shelter or any other worthy organization in Muscatine.
What I love about being an Iowan, and specifically someone that lives in Muscatine County, is how we are always ready, without question, to lend a hand and help our neighbors in need. Let’s keep doing that and I’ll keep my pinkies painted purple!