Thanks to those who helped a Helpmate volunteer

As a volunteer on the crisis line for Helpmate, a local domestic-violence agency and shelter, I once received a call from a woman wanting to leave an abuser and move in with friends in a different state. However, she lacked sufficient funds to pay for the gas to get her there. Helpmate offers many incredible services to those in need, but did not have the ability to offer a gas card at the time.

Instead, I referred the woman to other community resources. Hearing the desperation in her voice, all I really wanted to do was pull a twenty out of my own wallet and send it to her so she could leave safely and begin a new life. However, my own bills were due and I could not personally afford it myself. It did spark a question in my mind about what I could do to help women like this one in the future.

If you walked into Greenlife last week and saw me selling cards that I made by hand, you now know what motivated me to stand shivering and smiling for the cause. Though it was cold and uncomfortable, it could not compare to the discomfort of feeling fear of abuse at home on a daily basis. Thank you to everyone who stopped to buy my cards, donate or simply wish me luck in the cold. In just three days, you all helped me raise $638 for Helpmate's emergency-assistance fund for victims of domestic violence.

I encourage everyone to find what moves you to serve your community this year, and may you be instilled with the knowledge that even just one person really can make a difference. For more information about Helpmate, please visit http://helpmateonline.org.

— Liz Miller
Asheville

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