When those who live under the constant fear of domestic violence and abuse finally flee and seek a safe haven, they often leave everything they own behind them.
While items such as old photos and jewelry may never be replaced, other things, such as socks and towels, are an immediate need that others can provide.
To meet this immediate need, students of St. Columbkille Catholic Grade School donated more than $300 to the Heartland Family Service Safe Haven Domestic Abuse Shelter to be used to purchase underwear for the women and children living in the shelter.
Robert Baxley, 14, said the idea came to him while participating in a High Ability Learning seminar.
The topic, he said, was about service and included someone from Heartland.
“They said what they needed most was socks, underwear and towels,” he said.
Students from Papillion and La Vista junior high schools created a challenge to collect socks and towels, but Baxley said he still saw a need to be filled.
“I took the underwear,” he said.
As president of the National Junior Honor Society, he said he presented the idea to his peers.
“As for getting the work done, that was the group,” he said.
He said students of all grades donated money each day. On March 17, the NJHS presented a check for $309.18 to Donna Dostal, vice president for development at Heartland.
“This is just so gratifying,” she said. “It’s just a wonderful illustration of the future of our country,” she said.
She said the selfless act goes a long way in the shelter, and it could not continue to operate as it does without such generous donations from community groups.
Baxley said the donation gives him a sense of hope for his generation, adding there was no competition between classes, no fundraising sales, and, most notably, no reward for whoever raised the most money.
“It really was all about the service,” he said.