Domestic Task Force prepares for holiday season
by Clay Neely
New faces and fresh ideas were in abundance during the Friday meeting of the newly formed Coweta County Domestic Violence Task Force.
The new task force has created multiple, purple donation boxes which will be distributed throughout the county. The purple donation boxes are designated for the donation of toiletries, bedding and blankets for the victims of domestic violence — all of which will be donated to the local Community Welcome House and One Roof Outreach.
“The community can find these boxes in the courthouses, old and new, many local restaurants and Piedmont Hospital where they have accepted eight of our boxes,” said task force organizer, Melissa Sizemore. “We had hoped to have our drop-off boxes in more places but due to the recent formation of the task force, we had to forgo the larger retailers this year due to many of the more corporate businesses requiring things in writing several months in advance.”
Sizemore hopes that more churches and local businesses will be open to the idea of hosting a donation box.
Branndon Turner, assistant chief parole officer for Carroll County, was also in attendance and spoke about the importance of officers having access to immediate information for the victims of domestic violence.
“We may run into a victim of DV and we know resources are out there but not what specifically,” said Turner who, in addition to Carroll County, also covers Coweta and Heard counties.
“We deal with so many resources and partners, if we were available to say ‘here is a list of the options available’ to a victim of domestic violence, it would be extremely helpful,” said Turner.
Dr. Kitty Kelley, human rights specialist and consultant, agreed with Turner.
“Large, comprehensive directories that are printed on an annual basis aren’t as useful as a simple piece of paper or flyer since you can change the information much more fluidly,” said Kelley.
“If you know of any groups that still have funding to assist, please let us know,” said Sizemore. “We need housing for the victims because, more often than not, Welcome House is full, so we can’t get them in. When they leave, they have nowhere to go. Government housing has a waitlist, so they’re stuck in limbo with nowhere to go. The wives and children are either living in their car or eventually going back home.”
According to Shannon Oxford, victim services advocate for Ahimsa House, Cherokee County has housing for victims of domestic violence through their shelter.
Community Welcome House in Coweta is hosting it’s Jingle Bell Run on Dec. 7 at Ashley Park while Family Patterns Matter is also currently accepting toy donations for children in Newnan.
“We are taking names of children from different schools to make sure they have some Christmas and some food as well,” said Linda Kirkpatrick, Family Patterns Matter founder and CEO.
“I thought the meeting went really well,” said Sizemore. “We would ultimately like to see more speakers for more resources so that the community knows what is available.”
The next scheduled meeting for the Task Force is at noon Jan. 17 in the Grand Jury Room at the Coweta County Justice Center on Greenville Street in Newnan.
For more information about the Domestic Violence Task Force, Sizemore may be contacted at 770-714-0402 or reached via email at: CowetaDVtaskforce@gmail.com .