NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - On Thursday, purple bins are going to be popping up across Newport News. They're not for decoration, but to make a difference in countless lives.
For the month of October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Newport News Police Department will be collecting household supplies, clothes, laundry detergent and more.
The purple bins, which were created in partnership with officers, survivors, children and volunteers, will be placed at all precincts, community centers, hotels and churches in the city.
The initiative is made possible because of the department's Domestic Violence Team. They connect anyone suffering with local resources and work with officers on how they engage with the community and on domestic calls.
"Often times victims are living in silence and they're suffering in silence. They might be fearful their children might be taken from them, they might be fearful that they will be judged by their community and so they don’t want other people to know what they’re going through," said Cheryl Chavers, NNPD's domestic violence specialist.
Chavers said the items collected throughout October can make a significant difference in the lives of anyone escaping abuse.
"For us it might be so simple to donate some dish detergent, but for a survivor what that means is their very first time in their own apartment after they have left an abusive relationship and it means a sense of freedom. It means a sense of safety," Chavers said.
Danielle McCall is a survivor who said when she left her husband she could have really used diapers.
"At age 23 I left Tennessee and came to Virginia. I had a three-year-old, a two-year-old, and an eight-week-old," she said. "At the time I sure could have used diapers. I had three little ones and diapers are so expensive."
McCall said her abuse started early and in the beginning she thought it was her fault.
"I thought it was just my fault. I didn't fold the towels the right way, I didn’t put stuff in the cabinet the right way or I didn't fix the meal the right way because he would always apologize afterwards," she said. "The first thing he did that injured me was when he was choking me shortly after our first child was born. That was the first sign of violence that I saw from him at all and it just escalated."
She said her family lived in Virginia so they weren't able to see the signs of abuse and she was ashamed to open up. McCall recalled how confusing it was as a young mother to be physically and emotionally abused.
"He would always cry and say he's sorry afterwards. And everything would be fine for about, you know, a few weeks and then I would do something wrong again and it was my fault this happened, or my fault that happened [but I realized] you don't have to stay, it's not your fault. No one deserves to be physically, emotionally, any type of abuse. Get out. There is help."
NNPD's bins will be placed at:
- Newport News Police Department Headquarters: 9710 Jefferson Ave.
- Newport News Police Department Central Precinct: 611 Dresden Dr.
- Newport News Police Department South Precinct: 3303 Jefferson Ave.
- Newport News Police Department North Precinct: 368 DeShazor Dr.
- New Beech Grove Baptist Church: 361 Beechmont Dr.
- CrossWalk Church: 13771 Warwick Blvd #26
- Brittingham-Midtown Community Center: 570 McLawhorne Dr.
- Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center: 2410 Wickham Ave.
- Gethsemane Baptist Church: 5405 Roanoke Ave.
- Denbigh Community Center: 15198 Warwick Blvd.
- Newport News Public Schools (Admin Building): 12465 Warwick Blvd
- Center for Women's Health: 12706 McManus Blvd.
- Holiday Inn: 980 Omni Blvd.
Brand new items needed:
- Newborn new clothes w/ tags attached
- Packaged socks
- Packaged underwear (women, children, men)
- Laundry Detergent
- Children's body wash
- Children's toothbrush
- Cleaning supplies
- Diapers all sizes
Bins will be put out on Thursday and people can start donating on October 1st. Everything collected will be donated to benefit Transitions Family Violence Services.
The NNPD domestic violence team will hold a brief ceremony to kick off Domestic Violence Awareness month at headquarters on October 1, 2021 at 6 p.m. Speakers will include survivors of domestic violence and Police Chief Steve Drew.
Local resources available for anyone looking for help: