KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - –
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - In the United States, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the fourth Saturday of October is Make a Difference Day, an observance that emphasizes community service and volunteerism.
Though typically seen as National awareness objectives, Soldiers and Civilians from the 7th Mission Support Command, headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, donated clothes, toys, bikes and baby gear to a local community shelter, here, October 24.
7th MSC family programs director, Danielle Hanson, brainstormed the event with her staff with the idea to both support these National observances and help people who have been affected by domestic violence in the local area.
“We thought about how we could give back through making a difference in our local community,” said Hanson. “So we partnered together with a local shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence and decided to do a clothes drive.”
The German shelter, "Frauenzuflucht" (women’s shelter) Kaiserslautern, has been taking in women and children for years, giving them food, a safe place to stay, items needed to live day-to-day, even finding them jobs.
“(They) help to enable victims of domestic violence to get back on their feet,” said Hanson. “A lot of these women left their homes in the middle of the night running for their lives and have nothing at all.”
The October donation drive drew a huge response from 7th MSC Soldiers and Civilians, who came together to collect bags and bags of gently used clothing items, children’s toys, bikes and lots of needed baby gear.
“We had two truckloads of items to drop off at the shelter,” said Hanson. “You could see that the people who donated felt very grateful that they were able to give back.”
Hanson and her team, along with 7th MSC leadership and Soldiers, greeted the shelter staff and helped load the trucks in front of the unit’s headquarters building.
“It showed that an Army unit is more than just Soldiers in uniform fighting for our Nation’s freedom, but we’re also here supporting our local community, which is just as important - to build that relationship,” said Hanson.
“I think it’s also important to continue to serve and give back on a volunteer basis,” she added. “It’s a constant reminder that selfless service is one of our Army values and that not only strengthens us as individuals, but reminds us that there are less fortunate people out there.”