Drop by Trinity Episcopal Cathedral when volunteers for “The Suitcase Project” are together and you’ll witness a beehive of activity.
"This is a toiletry bag,” explained Judy Metz in an interview with WOWT 6 News. “These are what we pack for a two or three day supply for the victims of sexual and domestic abuse. They can use while they try to get settled."
It’s an organized effort with cheerful workers grouped on assembly lines in various parts of the room. New personal care items purchased with donated money are dropped in bags that are filled and then delivered to the next station where additional items are added.
The motto: Combat violence with love.
"Unfortunately, we have a high demand in Omaha,” said volunteer Beth Barger. “But it gives us the purpose."
Last year the group put together 120 special care packages and so far this year 44 have already been delivered.
"It’s my fourth month here helping,” said Natalie Lisko, a student at Midlands University. “I’m trying to start one in Fremont and have our own Suitcase Project"
In another room donated suitcases are vacuumed and prepared for use to supply the additional needs if a family is involved.
Didi Brown adds a personal touch through notes that she sends to the victim with each delivery. Years ago, she too had to deal with the emotional and physical issues that come with being the victim of violence.
"They're feeling doubtful and fearful,” she said. “And with these notes from somebody that has been through this, it shows there is hope that they can be happy once again."
There are no set meetings for the volunteers. They respond when word comes from the Women’s Center for Advancement that supplies for victims are low.
Among the volunteers, even though it was a school night, was second grader Izzy Worden. She summed up her experience with this statement: “I feel very confident and proud and it’s really good to help other people.”
For more information on The Suitcase Project click on the links included with this story.