RISE, Brighton & Hove’s domestic abuse charity, has launched an appeal for dried food and household necessities for residents at their refuges.
The appeal is led by Madelaine Hunter, RISE community fundraiser, herself a survivor of domestic abuse.
Madelaine said: “When families flee abuse they often leave everything behind including family, friends, toys and clothes.
“It is hard enough living in a refuge and trying to find your feet without the added stress of trying to feed yourself and your family.
“This is why we have an emergency cupboard with food and household essentials to help residents through the initial move.
“Last week the cupboard was bare and so, for the first time, we launched this appeal.”
Ms Hunter endured an emotionally abusive and controlling relationship for 10 years until it escalated into violence.
“I didn’t leave for a number of reasons including the fact he would threaten to hurt himself if I left and I couldn’t put my children through that.
“When he assaulted me I went to the police.
“I thought they would tell me I was wasting their time, but I was listened to and supported.
“I didn’t feel ashamed or judged, they were on my side.”
“It was a chaotic and confusing time, and when my ex-partner claimed I was a drug-taking prostitute things got more complicated.
“I had to jump through hoops and had ten professionals looking after me.
“I know who I am.
“My access to money was cut off by my partner, I had to leave my job and apply for benefits as I had no money and my ex still got the tax credits.
“The financial complications were huge and my cupboard was bare.
Knowing what it feels like to have no food for your family, I make this appeal as a personal challenge from me.”
Just one week into the appeal the store cupboards at RISE’s two refuges are nearly full with over 100 individuals donating food and goods and the impact doesn’t stop at full stomachs.
One refuge staff member said: “When we told the residents about the donations and they saw the gifts, the reaction was quite emotional.
“It is not only about the kind gift of food, they saw this as a direct message from the community that they are cared for and believed.
“It was quite overwhelming and we can’t thank people enough.
“I wish we could thank everyone individually with extra thanks to Real Junk Food Project Brighton, Infinity Foods and Brighton and Hove County Cricket Club.”
To support RISE with donations, in money or kind, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are affected by domestic abuse visit RISE: www.riseuk.org.uk or call 01273 622822. You are not alone. You are not to blame. Help and support is available.