Often, leaving behind an abusive relationship also means that a survivor and their family have left everything behind, to start over. Other families may be well on their way to stability, but have very little or no expendable income for the holiday season. Either way, our Holiday Store program provides valuable and deeply appreciated support to survivors who might not be able to otherwise provide gifts to their families. Go to Winter Holiday to find out how you can help.
The Christmas after I left my husband, I lived in an apartment with my four children. He still lived in the home we had bought together, and since we had not yet signed legal divorce papers, he still controlled the amount of money he gave to me for the kids. I was going to school, and working part-time, however, I could barely manage to get food on the table, never mind purchase gifts for my children.The CWS Holiday Store made Christmas positive for me that year. I was able to get the perfect gift for each of my kids, as well as some cool stocking stuffers. On top of that, everyone treated me with such kindness and acceptance that I was not ashamed that I needed somehelp. It was the best gift of all. Last year was a little better, but I still needed to shop at the CWS holiday store. This last year, however, I was on my feet and when December rolled around I was able to give a toy to the holiday. It is just a little way I can give back. I have received a lot of great help from CWS, including rent assistance for a year and really good counseling, but I don’t know if I will ever be able to fully express how important those Christmas gifts were to my self-esteem when I was most vulnerable.