Photo by Diane Cox
State Rep. Dan Beiser (D-Alton) and Tina Williams stand with donations for the Oasis Women’s Center.
ALTON — Domestic violence is a preventable problem but still finds a way into thousands of homes across the country.
For State Rep. Dan Beiser (D-Alton), supporting those who help others, such as the Oasis Women’s Center in Alton, has been a priority since he took office in December 2004.
“It’s important that we as a community recognize that these are unfortunate situations that do exist,” Beiser said. “We have a great organization (Oasis Women’s Center) led by Margarette Trushel that is able to provide a desperately needed service in a very difficult time with very little fanfare for the women and children who have experienced domestic violence. Being a lifelong Alton resident, I didn’t know what Oasis was or what they did prior to 2004. Since working with the organization for more than 10 years, I know the needs they have are ongoing.”
Beiser is calling upon individuals and businesses in Greater Alton to drop off donation items needed for victims of domestic violence at his office, 528 Henry St. in Alton, until Feb. 19.
Items asked for include liquid laundry detergent, alarm clock radios, toilet paper, deodorant, African-American hair products, diapers, pull-ups, shampoo, conditioner, bars of soap, combs, brushes, baby bottles, women’s sanitary items and gift cards.
“The items people donate will go straight to local women and children affected by domestic violence,” Trushel said. “Domestic violence is the number one police call. We have more than 1,300 orders of protection in just Madison County alone. There are so many families who come with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and had to leave everything behind.”
State budget woes have left an impact on funding for many vital services for the most vulnerable and those in need.
“We do receive some state funding, but a lot of our financial support comes from the Caravan Resale Shop on Broadway,” Trushel said. “We accept donations the last week of the month. We’re fortunate to have over 100 volunteers. The resale shop does help us pay our bills.”
Beiser said the domestic violence programs were one of the last appropriated bills that did pass and the governor signed.
“The domestic violence programs are receiving some funding, but they are not made whole,” Beiser said. “That being said, because the most vulnerable are being left out of the programs, such as senior services, continued cuts could wind up appearing at the door of Oasis.”
Beiser said he’s seen first-hand the pain caused by unstable home relationships. The sting of domestic violence is not just felt by adults; children experience the worst side of the unfortunate circumstances.
“There is never a good situation,” Beiser said. “You can see it in the eyes of the young mothers, or mothers of any age; but you can truly see it in the eyes of the children. I think the children are the most impacted because they can’t quite comprehend what’s going on and why it’s happening.”
“These children need a place to be themselves, be a kid again, feel safe and get back on track to a normal life,” Beiser said. “When they see mom scared or sometimes mom may not physically look the way she should. It’s tough for a child to comprehend that.”
Individuals or businesses interested in making a donation can drop off items or gift cards at Beiser’s office or call (618) 465-5111. The Caravan Resale Shop can be found at 112 E. Broadway or by calling (618) 462-6434.