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Support Domestic Violence Victims with Kentucky's First Lady

State funding for domestic violence shelters has been decreased in recent years but Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear, wife of Governor Steve Beshear, devised a plan four years ago to help out. Since launching "Shop & Share Day" in 2008, Beshear has helped raise more than $1.5 million to support the shelters.

Shop & Share Day is Saturday, February 2. Mrs. Beshear explained the event in a telephone interview with The River City News.

"This is an opportunity for every citizen in the Commonwealth of Kentucky to do something for the domestic violence shelters in their areas," Beshear said. "All the individual has to do is when they go to purchase their items for their Super Bowl party, which I'm sure so many people will be doing on Saturday, is that they take that time to purchase one or more items to benefit our shelters."

 

The needed goods include canned foods, toilet paper, and soap and should be purchased at Kroger stores across the state. The goods benefit Kentucky Domestic Violence Association (KDVA) shelters. Locally, those donations will benefit the Women's Crisis Center, which serves every Northern Kentucky county.

"That crisis center supports all those counties, so if everyone in those counties, if each individual would even donate done item, what a huge difference that would make," Beshear said.

The program is coordinated through the efforts of the First Lady’s Office, the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association, Kroger, Food City (in eastern Kentucky), the Kentucky Commission on Women, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana, the Girls Scouts of Wilderness Road Council, and the Kentucky Drug Court to collect needed goods and funds for the 15 domestic violence shelters across the Commonwealth.

"It's a very simple, easy way to do something to make a difference," the First Lady said. "The thing I remind everyone is, domestic violence, it doesn't respect economic situations, it doesn't respect anything. In Kentucky, one in four women will experience some kind of domestic violence in their lifetime. That's pretty frightening. It's important to make sure those shelters are there so that there is some place for them to go to escape that violence."

Beshear said that domestic violence also doesn't respect gender. One in nine men will suffer from domestic violence in their lifetime, she said. 

"One of the things I feel so strongly about is for people who are discouraged about where we are and where we're going in our society, the only way to make changes is for each of us to be involved and so this is one of those times," Beshear said. "If we are concerned about violence as everyone should be, and I think everyone is, and you wonder what you can do to make a difference, this is one of those times."

Beshear said that she and the governor, who will be returning from an economic development trip, will be relaxing on Sunday to take in the Super Bowl. On Saturday, though, Mrs. Beshear will eb traveling the state to participate in Shop & Share Day. Her stops include two locations in Northern Kentucky: at 2:45-3:45 p.m. at the Kroger in Cold Spring and at 4:05 - 4:25 p.m. at the Kroger in Walton.

See also: Mrs. Beshear speaks about the event on YouTube

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

Photo: Mrs. Jane Beshear