The brothers of Delta Chi and the sisters of Phi Mu pose with Raisha Morell in front of the Delta Chi house (Rebekah Hawkins/The Chanticleer)
Rebekah Hawkins, Associate Editor
Twenty white laundry baskets filled with deodorants, detergents, soaps and other toiletries sat on the sidewalk outside of the Delta Chi house last Wednesday night.
It may have looked like an odd sight to any ordinary passerby, but to the members of the Phi Mu sorority and the Delta Chi fraternity it was a symbol of giving back.
Phi Mu teamed up with Delta Chi to make welcome baskets for battered women who come to the Second Chance Shelter in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness month in October.
Second Chance, Inc. is a non-profit that assists with victims of domestic and sexual violence. Their main office is located in Anniston, but they provide services for the counties of Calhoun, Cleburne, Cherokee, Etowah, Randolph and Talladega.
According to Raisha Morrell, a spokesperson for Second Chance, the welcome baskets are given to incoming women at the shelter.
“These women often come here with nothing,” she said. “They’re running. We provide these as a service. We want no barriers. With welcome baskets, it’s just one less thing they have to worry about.”
A group of nearly 150 combined to bring toiletries as well as some home supplies like paper towels and toilet paper to fill the baskets to the brim. The Delta Chi members stood in their living room lined up to the front door holding empty baskets as Phi Mu members formed a line and each dropped an item in the baskets.
Abby Yarbrough, the Phi Mu sister who coordinated the event, had been contacted by JSU Management and Marketing professor Lenn Rainwater about doing something for the shelter, even if it was just handing out flyers.
“I thought, ‘I want to actually do something for them,’” Yarbrough said. “We’re about doing community service and because we are more privileged, I thought about the gift baskets and what a good opportunity it would be to really do something for those that aren’t as privileged.”
Yarbrough teamed up with Jared Davis of Delta Chi for help. Davis said that working together was the best option for being able to do more.
“This is an issue that a lot of people don’t think concerns them. But it does,” Davis said. “If it’s not someone you know personally you don’t hear about it much. But we felt that this was a great opportunity. Usually we do Jimmy V Cancer Research, so this was something different.”
Rainwater presented plaques to both Phi Mu and Delta Chi to show them appreciation for helping the shelter. Morrell said she was blown away by the support and actions of both groups.
“This is above what I thought,” Morell said. “And everyone was so nice and helpful.”
“Thank you for everyone who will be recipients of these baskets,” Rainwater said to the groups. “Women in abusive situations run in fear and often have nothing but the clothes on their backs. That’s why we made these baskets, y’all are recognizing that. Thank you.”
Domestic violence is a serious matter. If you or someone you know is being abused, they can contact Second Chance 24 hours a day by calling locally at 256-236-7233, toll-free at 1-800-650-6522 or by their RAINN hotline at 1-800-656-4673.