SafeHouse to ‘blanket’ domestic violence

First Lady Dianne Bentley discusses her support of the “Blankets with a Blessing” Christmas tradition at the Governor’s Mansion in Montgomery, Monday, Oct. 1. At Mrs. Bentley’s left is Kathy Wells of SafeHouse of Shelby County. Last year, Mrs. Bentley donated 55 blankets to the SafeHouse of Shelby County. (Contributed)

By BETH CHAPMAN / Community Columnist

SafeHouse and others including Alabama’s First Lady, Dianne Bentley, want to “blanket” domestic violence and cover its victims.

Kathy Wells, director of SafeHouse of Shelby County, joined Mrs. Bentley at the Governor’s Mansion this week to promote “Blankets with a Blessing,” which is in its second year of marking the beginning of National Domestic Violence Month.

Wells said some of the blankets are homemade while others are store bought, but they are all needed and greatly appreciated. She said they will be put to good use, especially during the cold holiday months when many women and children make their way to SafeHouse for shelter.

Bentley said she has a special place in her heart for such victims as she has met many since becoming First Lady. As a quilter, Bentley said it makes “Blankets with a Blessing” an even more special project for her. She pointed out at the press conference that blankets not only serve a physical need, but an emotional need as well.

Nowhere is that more obvious than at SafeHouse where, “many of the victims we see and work with have no clothes with them other than what they are wearing. We clothe them, and others can be a part of this project to help us cover them with a warm blanket,” said Wells.

Wells said one-fourth of women in Alabama are or will be domestic violence victims within their lifetime. SafeHouse serves about 300 women and children (in shelter) which is an increase of 105 percent since 2007.

While the blankets for the project are being collected in Montgomery, we need to support it in here as well since SafeHouse is here. If you or any group would like to donate blankets or quilts, please email me at Bethchapman@bellsouth.com and I will be sure that SafeHouse gets them and that Mrs. Bentley knows of your support.

There is no greater way to help victims of domestic violence than to cover them with love and concern and let them know that someone, somewhere really cares about them.

 

Beth Chapman, Alabama’s secretary of state, is a Shelby County resident. You can reach her at bethchapman@bellsouth.net.