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Domestic Violence Crisis Center seeks donations

Submitted Photo Art by a survivor of domestic violence that was intended to be displayed during a virtual benefit concert by the Minot State University choir that had to be called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Domestic Violence Crisis Center has served more people during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, said executive director Jill McDonald in an email last week.

Last year there were 1,609 calls to the center seeking services. This year, with a little over a month left of 2020, there have been 1,641 calls for services. McDonald said there have been over 60 calls seeking assistance after a sexual assault this year.

“There have been many things that COVID-19 has closed down, but DVCC’s team has been creative in finding ways to remain open and accessible during all the ups and downs of the pandemic,” said McDonald. “DVCC added an online chat feature to reach an advocate during office hours through a website, online support groups, tele-therapy, as well as maintaining traditional services such as assistance with protection orders and access to emergency shelter. We have seen an increase in people reaching out to safety plan for when they feel the time is right to leave. If someone is planning to leave and have questions please give one of our advocates a call, they can help develop a plan that meets the individual’s unique needs.”

Members of the public have stepped up to help. McDonald said some of the Domestic Violence Crisis Center’s partners have held food drives to help the families it serves and have posted a wish list on Facebook each week to help the families get items they need.

“We made some difficult choices through the pandemic to reduce exposure to both staff, survivors, and our donors by having to adjust our in-kind donation process,” said McDonald. “This means our staff have reduced exposure and can focus their time and energy on helping survivors when we are so shorthanded due to COVID 19. It also means we are not exposing the donor as well. We also have had to continually adjust our volunteer program this year.”

Submitted Photo This is art by a survivor of domestic violence that was intended to be displayed during a virtual benefit concert by the Minot State University choir that had to be called off due to the coronavirus pandemic. Victoria Conner of the Minot Domestic Violence Crisis Center said “the intention of this artwork was to add a visual element, humanize what we do at DVCC, shed some light on the importance of creativity to healing. One survivor uses wood burning as a means of healing. (Another) has a wall where they allow anyone to paint on in their home.”

McDonald said the best way for people to help right now is to donate through St. Joseph Health Foundation’s Twice Blessed Campaign. Donations will be matched up to $10,000. The funds that are donated will be used to help support the costs of operating the Domestic Violence Crisis Center’s emergency shelter and its transitional living program; salaries and fringe benefits for staff.

More information about the Twice Blessed campaign can be found at https://sjchfnd.com/organizations/ domestic-violence-crisis-center/

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