Donation store shines light on Someplace Safe - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Donation store shines light on Someplace Safe

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NILES, Ohio -

If you walk through the Eastwood Mall this month, you'll notice one shop that's a little different from the others. It's a place to make someone else's Christmas a little brighter.

Instead of buying presents at this store, you drop them off. It's here for a simple reason: the Someplace Safe domestic violence shelter is full.

"We typically do Christmas for, last year for example for 175 women and children. This year, our list grew to 300," said Bonnie Wilson, the director of domestic violence and visitation services for Trumbull County.

So this year, the Eastwood Mall stepped up and offered them a spot. It didn't take long for people to start grabbing tags off the giving tree and get to work on someone else's wish-list.

"We've had so many comments from our clients who will just break down and cry and say I can't believe that people who didn't even know me cared this much about me to buy this gifts, not only for me but for me and my children," said Wilson.

At this point, they have an entire store's worth of toys, clothing, and everything else you can think of, but they wanted to take it a step farther. So this week, all the women get to go Christmas shopping.

"We thought, wow how much nicer now to let those moms come on-site and then sort of shop for the gifts, not only for themselves but for their children. It sort of gives them a sense of empowerment," said Wilson.

With thousands of people passing by this storefront every single day, as you might expect it's made getting donations a little easier this year, but it's also helped shine a light on the mission and the need in the Valley.

"As you know, the mall is kind of the go-to place, especially this time of year. So people were able to see and then they would stop in and be like, 'So what are you doing here?'... And then they would hear and they would be like, 'Can I have one of those angel tags from your tree and go shop for a child or a woman or a family?'," said Wilson.

Those conversations, sparking literally thousands of donations, making 300 Christmases a little brighter and just maybe opening some eyes about a very real issue here in the Valley.

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