HELENA — The holiday season fastly approaches and many like to use the time to give back to those in need. The Friendship Center is one organization that needs essential items for those impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
"We aren't accepting a lot of material donations right now, so we have a most needs list on the front page of our website, and so that's the best way for people to figure out what material goods we're looking for," said Gina Boesdorfer, Executive Director of the Friendship Center.
The "wish list" shows the center needs hand soap, reusable shopping bags, diapers, kids' shampoo, and toiletries.
Boesdorfer says they have seen a significant increase in need of their services due to the pandemic, and clients say they have faced more severe and frequent abuse.
"The added stresses and pressures and then again not being able to reach out for support or have those breaks or those things that people usually do for safety where they create safety for themselves and their inherently unsafe situation have been altered by all the things going on in the world with the pandemic," said Boesdorfer.
Due to this, The Friendship center provided nearly 5,500 nights of shelter for 177 people and 27 children so far in 2021 and 6,111 services for 575 people.
"Some of that 6000 will be from anonymous contact, so people that call our crisis line, but maybe don't feel safe telling us who they are, but that 570 are known individuals," said Boesdorfer.
Boesdorfer says the center has been doing its best to provide resources despite the shortage of services throughout the community.
"Our clients are still facing the same challenges they've always faced, but now they're facing them with much less resources in the community than what they might otherwise have," said Boesdorfer.
The essential items the Friendship center needs:
- Gift cards for food & gas cards
- Women’s (size 5 or larger) underwear & socks
- New hairbrushes and razors
- Shampoo, conditioner (16 to 20oz) and deodorants.
- Hand Soap/refillable soap • Small bottles of Tylenol, Ibuprofen, and Benadryl
- Contact solution
- Reusable shopping bags
- Laundry baskets (med size) & detergent
- Diapers (size 5), Sippy cups, baby & kids’ toothpaste, kids’ shampoo/ lotion/ diaper cream
- Toilet paper, paper towels, disinfecting wipes, thermometers
- Garbage bags (33gal & 13gal)
- Motel food items (microwavable and/or ready to eat)
- Slightly used furniture, table/chairs, dressers and lamps
- Pots & pans, crock pots mixing bowls, toasters, microwaves, hand mixers, forks, cheese graters and can openers
- Trash cans and cleaning supplies; including multi‐purpose, peroxide‐based cleaners, dish soap, bathroom cleaner, bleach, brooms, mops
- New(er) full size sheets, full blankets and comforters, and new bed pillows
- Twin & Full allergy mattress Covers.
- Shower curtains
- Ice Melt
- New in package, Straight Talk phones and minutes
Boesdorfer says people are able to drop off donations at the center, and if they have any questions for other items on the wish list they can call 406-422-6800.