Debra A. Greenwood, President & CEO of the Center for Family Justice in Bridgeport.

BRIDGEPORT — With calls to domestic violence hotlines rising in Connecticut since March, this has been a difficult year for survivors of abuse.

With the holidays approaching, the Center for Family Justice — which offers shelter and other services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Greater Bridgeport — is asking for help for residents of its 15-bed safe house, Kathie’s Place.

The home offers survivors and their families safe, free and comfortable shelter as they work to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of domestic violence. However, the holidays can pose many emotional and financial challenges, particularly for victims with young children.

he COVID-19 pandemic has made this year especially difficult, said Debra A. Greenwood, president and CEO of the Center for Family Justice. Not only did the pandemic force many domestic violence survivors to shelter in place with their abusers, but, she said, it also put additional financial strain on families.

“It is often difficult for our clients to fulfill the holiday wishes of their children as they too often lack the resources to do so,” Greenwood said in a news release. “This year, it’s even more challenging as so many of our clients are also coping with job loss, food and housing insecurity and the challenges of supporting their families during this stressful pandemic.”

For the past several years, the Center for Family Justice has run an Adopt-a-Family program to help meet the most immediate needs of its clients during the holiday season.

The center is seeking a small number of individuals or businesses interested in adopting community and safe house clients and their children in need of holiday cheer.

These individuals will fulfill the gift wish lists of some of our clients.

The center is also seeking gift cards from such stores as Wal-Mart, Target, Stop & Shop, CVS and Walgreens. Gift cards allow CFJ’s clients to make personal decisions about things they need most. Cards in denominations of $25 or less are preferred.

Other needs include toys, particularly those that have a broad appeal to children of all ages and genders such as board games, art kits, Lego, block sets, action figures, car and truck sets and dolls in a variety of skin tones.

The center also is seeking donations of new apparel, with tags still attached, that is suitable for young children and toddlers. Preferred items include new socks, hats, mittens, scarves, earmuffs, underwear, sweatshirts and sweatpants. Useful baby items include diapers and pull ups of all sizes (especially sizes 4, 5 and 6), formula, baby food, diaper rash ointment, baby powder, wipes, cotton swabs, blankets and crib sheets.

Other items needed include non-perishable food items, toiletries, and comfortable clothes for adults.

For more information about the Adopt-a-Family program, or the kinds of items needed by the Center for Family Justice, contact the center’s community relations coordinator, Beth Fitzpatrick, at BFitzpatrick@CenterforFamilyJustice.org.

The deadline for volunteering to adopt a family is Dec. 1.

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