Peaceful Paths, a domestic abuse network in Gainesville, has once again started its annual holiday giving program. This year, the organization is reaching out to about 85 families in need and pairing them with donors so they can have even more support this holiday season.
Theresa Beachy, executive director of Peaceful Paths, said requests for the Adopt-A-Family event vary from Barbies and video games to laundry detergent and towels.
“It is the most…rewarding part of our year in terms of being able to really see the impact of our work and immediate needs for the families,” she said. “It’s wonderful to see the moms come pick up the stuff for their children.”
Beachy said Anthem Church, a non-denominational church in Gainesville, donated $8,500 to Peaceful Paths for this program.
The main goal of the program, she said, is to strengthen families.
“Many of them have been in situations where people closest to them in their lives have really destroyed their confidence, destroyed their trust, have told them that no one else would love them and no one would support them if they leave,” she said. “And for them to walk into a room that’s literally filled with items from strangers who say you know what we’re hear to help it makes such an amazing impact.”
The program includes Alachua, Union and Bradford Counties and provides gifts for families who are currently involved with Peaceful Paths or who have stopped using its services within a year. Beachy said this follow up is what is really helpful for domestic abuse victims.
“One of the things that we know, in terms of really helping women reach self sufficiency, is stability after being in a domestic violence relationship is that the ongoing contact in support is one of the things that helps,” she said.
Beachy urges locals to reach out to Peaceful Paths and encourages them to get involved. There are still six families left to adopt this holiday season.
Kelsey Meany edited this story for online