Meg Short, Development Manager
Families and businesses often ask us how they can help us out. There are many non-monetary gifts you can give to support the community of survivors we serve. Gathering items to put together can be a great service project or volunteer day! Read on to learn 5 ways you can help.
- Sensory Bags
Our crisis counselors love to give clients items that can help manage stress and anxiety as they continue to process their trauma. Including an item for each sense (smell, sight, hearing, touch, and taste) helps clients who are having difficulty regulating their emotions. Can you put a bag together for us?
Ideas for what to include:
-A few tea bags with calming blends (chamomile/lavender/valerian/lemon balm/passion flower, etc.)
-A small essential oil with calming blend
-A stick of peppermint gum (peppermint is known to calm GI tract) or sour candy
-A list of breathing techniques (4-7-8, box breathing, alternate nostril breathing, hot-cocoa breathing)
-A list of grounding activities (a walk in nature, identify all the sounds you hear/textures and colors you see, list 5 things you are grateful for, take a bath, listen to music, etc)
-An inspirational quote or positive affirmation
-A little notebook
-An inspiration picture or calming outdoor scene
-A fidget toy, like an acupressure ring or textured sensory stip for a phone case
-A gemstone (like this small pink quartz, which represents self-love) or “worry stones”
-A bag to pack them in
2. Hygiene Kits
Some of our clients come to Faces of Hope to flee their abusive situation with only the clothes they have on. It is often unsafe for them to return home to gather their belongings. Additionally, many of our clients have experienced financial abuse, in which they have very restricted access to money so the abuser can keep control over them.
It can be challenging to think about basic needs when experiencing any form of interpersonal violence. Always having hygiene kits on hand at Faces of Hope allows us to meet the basic needs of our clients as soon as they seek help.
Our hygiene kits contain the following:
–Bar of soap or full-size body wash
–Comb(s) and/or brush(es)
-Deodorant(s) (men & women’s)
-Small pack of razors
-Reusable tote/drawstring bag to pack them in
Want to make a family hygiene kit? Our average family size is 4 people – include 4 toothbrushes, combs, and deodorants. With that in mind, we have to make sure that items in a family kit can be used by every member of the family. Gender-neutral or unscented items are best. For example, a mom and her 6-year-old son can both use a cucumber or ocean breeze scented body wash, and our 6-year-old friend does not have to go to first-grade smelling like cherry blossoms.
3. Weighted Items
Weighted blankets and weighted stuffed animals can help clients of all ages manage their trauma-induced anxiety and stress. During crisis counseling sessions, these items help with grounding and give comfort to our clients. We sometimes give them to clients to improve sleep at home.
4. Safety Items
Our goal is to aid our clients’ healing process by providing a little piece of mind in the midst of their dangerous situation. We give out Blink video doorbells so clients can know exactly who is at their door and monitor it when they are away from home. In that same vein, window and door alarms can help. We also give out pepper spray so clients feel a little more secure when they have to be away from their support system, and emergency cell phones to ensure no one is monitoring them.
If you have a phone that is unlocked and can be connected to service, we can provide a prepaid sim card for a client to use it. If your phone no longer connects to service, but has a working charger, we can give it to clients to call 911 in an emergency.
5. Gifted Experiences
After a long and stressful week of court, support groups, legal appointments, counseling, and meeting with law enforcement and case managers (on top of work/school), it’s a relief to be able to do something fun. Many of our clients have experienced some form of financial abuse and have not been to a movie or a fun experience in a long time. You can give gift certificates or vouchers to the movie theater, bowling, mini golf, go-karting, a trampoline park, or more seasonal options, like a pumpkin patch or water park. These items are appreciated greatly by clients both young and old and often bring tears to their eyes.
We also always accept donations of clothing, shoes, and accessories for Hope’s Closet. People often ask us why we only accept items that are new with tags. Having the opportunity to pick out new clothes with tags is an empowering experience for survivors and can be incredibly emotional.
All donations can be dropped off M-F 8am-5 pm at 417 S 6th St, Boise, ID 83702, or you may contact us if a pick up is needed.
Other frequently requested items we accept:
Diapers (frequently running out of sizes 4,5, and 6)
Nail care items
Laundry detergent (laundry detergent sheets, travel size) and local laundromat vouchers
Toilet paper (1 or 2 rolls)
Disposable dinnerware and utensils
Cleaning supplies for moving into a new place
Makeup to cover bruises