• Pay it Forward

    Domestic abuse shelter will ‘Pay It Forward’
    to thank a generous community
    Sheltering Wings marks program’s
    19th anniversary with call for random acts of kindness
    DANVILLE, Ind. – “Despite all the turmoil of 2020, people in this community chose to look outside themselves and help their neighbors, including Sheltering Wings residents. We’re going to pay back that unselfish generosity by paying it forward.”
    Those words by Cassie Mecklenburg, executive director of Sheltering Wings, will launch Pay It Forward, the domestic abuse shelter’s annual effort to encourage everyone to perform a random act of kindness. Officially, Pay It Forward starts on Jan. 12, the shelter’s 19th anniversary.
    “The pandemic has added a big layer of care to what we already do. People in this community continually step up – making donations, dropping off food and donating items from our wish list. Every single family was adopted, too, so every person had gifts to open on Christmas morning – for some, their first Christmas without violence,” said Mecklenburg.
    For its part, the shelter will Pay It Forward to healthcare partners at Hendricks Regional Health and IU Health West. Prevention and Education Officer Melissa Echerd says acts of kindness are in line with the shelter’s efforts to prevent domestic violence, on the rise due to increased isolation.
    “We talk a lot about the developmental assets a young person needs to avoid a violent future. We reinforce these when a child sees our acts of kindness,” Echerd said.
                How can you show kindness while social distancing? Here are a few ideas:

    • Offer to pick up groceries for a family so they don’t have to go out.
    • Shovel your neighbor’s sidewalk or driveway.
    • Call someone who lives alone to see how they’re doing.
    • Let an older person sit in their warm car while you load up their purchases for them.
    • Make a monetary donation or donate goods to the church or charity of your choice, perhaps in honor of a special friend or family member.
    Once you’ve performed your own random act, encourage others to join you:
    1. Post on social media: “I’m celebrating the #shelteringwings anniversary by paying kindness forward. Keep it going! #PayItForward”
    2. Visit shelteringwings.org/pay-it-forward for shareable coupons (print and digital).
    “Domestic abuse” means someone close to you uses physical, sexual, digital, emotional, verbal, spiritual or financial actions to control you. If you are being abused (or if you’re not sure), call the Sheltering Wings anonymous helpline 24/7 at (317) 745-1496 or visit shelteringwings.org/is-this-abuse.

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