BPW helps others

Women's group fills suitcases for Advocates clients

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— Old luggage serves a new purpose this Christmas season.

A local agency that helps abused women and children has received several used suitcases filled with toiletries and other personal items.

Members of the Yampa Valley Business and Professional Women's Club decided to use a little creativity to deliver some holiday cheer to women assisted by Advocates for Battering and Abuse. They used their old luggage to pack something other than clothes.

"Several of us had suitcases that we didn't need any longer," said Cynthia Vaida, president of the club. "We thought it would be a fun way to help."

December provides an excellent opportunity to show some generosity to people in the community, Vaida said. Women and their children often need help when moving from one place to another in domestic situations, she said.

The luggage, worn with signs of travel like decals from London, should make those transitions somewhat easier, Vaida added.

"We're filling old suitcases with fresh donations," she said.

The donations, which include such things as hand towels, scented lotions and shampoos, have filled more than six suitcases and should fill several more, Vaida said.

Advocates plans to disperse the items throughout the year. Women who arrive at the women's shelter often forget items at home, so care packages are necessary.

The Yampa Valley Business and Professional Women's Club traditionally holds a gift exchange during its December meeting.

But all of the gifts brought to the meeting this year will go to Advocates.

"We preferred to help our sisters in the valley this time," she said.

Kiwanis members and customers and employees at Vectra Bank have also responded to efforts aimed at helping women assisted by Advocates.

Vectra Bank serves as a collection site for items, said Denise Reid, vice president of the Yampa Valley Business and Professional Women's Club.

People who come to the bank and ask about the drop box often return later with items to donate, she said.

The type of items dropped off reveal givers' thoughtfulness, she said. Items range from lotion and bath product gift sets for women to notebooks and writing utensils for children.

"The response has been overwhelming," Reid said. "We have filled suitcase after suitcase after suitcase."

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