116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — The Domestic Violence Intervention Program is preparing for its 15th annual Shop for Shelter, an event that brings in nine months’ worth of donations for the nonprofit.
Shop for Shelter will take place Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Hy-Vee stores in Iowa City and Coralville, as well as Iowa City’s Fareway, 2765 Commerce Dr. October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.
Volunteers hand out shopping lists at the stores of the items DVIP needs most. There also will be a QR code available to take people directly to the list or to make a monetary donation.
Shoppers can purchase the items and leave them with a volunteer as they exit the store. DVIP’s community engagement director Alta Medea-Peters said every donation helps.
“What's really amazing is the generosity of our community,” Medea-Peters said. “ … It is goods that we don't have to spend our dollars on and yet provides so much support for individuals.”
Items on the list include non-perishable foods such as canned soups, rice, spices, coffee and cooking oil. There also is a need for Black hair care products, hygiene products, cleaning supplies and laundry supplies.
“What you need in your home and what you run through the most in your home is also what we run through the most in ours,” Medea-Peters said, adding that DVIP’s emergency shelter has 40 beds and is full 365 days of the year.
DVIP has seen an uptick of individuals needing assistance, Medea-Peters said. During the last fiscal year — which ran from July 1 to June 30 — DVIP served 2,189 individuals in its eight-county region.
In Iowa City, DVIP served 1,145 individuals — just under double of the number who needed assistance the previous year.
Medea-Peters said many victims have been forced to isolate with their abusers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has “increased and really made obvious the need for our services.”
A total of 869 instances of relationship violence were reported to the Iowa City Police Department in 2020, which resulted in 255 arrests, according to the police department.
In 2021, there have been more than 700 reports so far, the department said in a news release.
DVIP had to shift its outreach due to the pandemic. Medea-Peters said DVIP worked on increasing its social media presence and also partnered with CHOMP delivery to include flyers in to-go food bags.
The nonprofit helps individuals with safety planning, connecting them with resources and appointments and housing.
The organization was able to permanently house 71 percent of clients in the last fiscal year, which is a 7 percent increase over the previous year, Medea-Peters said.
“That (increase in housing) is due to the increase in funding support that we received because of COVID, as well as individuals needing more permanent solutions for their situations,” Medea-Peters said.
DVIP also has an emergency pet shelter and mobile advocacy where staff meets victims where it’s safest for them.
Shop for Shelter needs about 80 volunteers. Individuals interested in volunteering can sign up through a Google Form on dvipiowa.org.
DVIP’s services are free and confidential. Individuals needing assistance or information can call the organization’s 24-hour hotline at (800) 373-1043 or visit dvipiowa.org.
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