Nearly $794K raised for domestic violence shelters in first lady's final Shop and Share Day

03/31/2015 05:49 PM

FRANKFORT – First lady Jane Beshear’s final Shop and Share Day netted more than $793,000, a sum that will help the bottom lines of Kentucky’s 15 domestic violence shelters, Beshear announced Tuesday.

Gov. Steve Beshear had been set to sign House Bill 8, legislation granting domestic violence protections for dating partners, and dovetail the two matters, but a scheduling error pushed Shop and Share solely into the limelight.

Jane Beshear, who launched the initiative after her husband took office in December 2007, said this year’s $793,842 haul was down slightly from last year’s total, and partnerships with Kroger, Food City and Super Dollar Discount Food stores allowed Shop and Share to touch every corner of Kentucky. Participants either donated grocery items or $1 on Saturday, and Beshear said more than $764,000 in goods were donated and nearly $30,000 was contributed for the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Beshear noted that the domestic violence group was one of the first that sought her support as first lady. During that meeting, she said the organization “touched my heart” in describing the services provided for domestic violence victims.

“Their problem at that point in time was the lack of funding,” she said.

“They had not received any additional funding for 10 years prior to that point in time, and unfortunately due to the financial condition of the commonwealth there still was no money available, so we had to, as I like to say, think outside of the box and try to find a way that we might be able to help in some way alleviate the financial constraints on our shelters.”

The nearly $794,000 total will be distributed regionally based on donations received in particular areas, Beshear said.

Darlene Thomas, KCADV’s executive director, read a thank you letter she wrote for Beshear, telling the first lady that the items donated will help the shelters’ focus their limited resources elsewhere.

Thomas said one shelter resident who helped during Saturday’s Shop and Share remarked on her exhaustion after the lengthy day, but seeing the stacks of donated items lifted her spirits “because I see how much people care about me and my daughter and everyone else who comes through our doors.”

A Pennsylvania woman who started a foundation for domestic violence victims recently reached out to Thomas lamenting the lack of a similar program in her state.

“I responded to her by strongly recommending that she get an appointment to speak with her first lady,” Thomas said, “and I assured her that our first lady would be more than willing to share her template for success.”


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