COFA hosts fundraiser for domestic violence victims

Last spring, the College of Fine Arts, led by three dedicated students, were able to collect 115 baskets of essential items for victims of domestic violence – requiring a U-Haul truck for delivery. This year they hope to surpass that number.

On Wednesday, March 2, 2011, they will once again collect donated baskets.

Baskets for Branches is a fundraiser for the Branches Domestic Violence Shelter. Branches serves clients as a safe haven against further abuse whether physical or emotional for them and their children.  Aside from providing housing; Branches offers legal assistance, counseling and case management to ready its clients to become independent.  Branches currently has one operational housing shelter and four outreach offices located in adjoining counties to provide additional resources.  Branches served over two thousand women, men, and children in 2010 in Cabell, Putnam, Wayne, Mason and Lincoln Counties.

Lindsay DiFatta (music education), Nikki Gilliam (art and design) and Alli Forlines (art and design) will once again serve as student representatives of the Baskets for Branches committee.

“A campaign like Baskets for Branches is important because so many people look the other way at domestic violence,” DiFatta said. “It’s so common. You always hear about it on the news and people have been desensitized to this huge problem. We wanted to put the issue back in the front of people’s minds and then provide them with a way to help someone affected by it.”

The shelter’s needs are great: personal items such as underwear, pajamas, toothbrushes and hairbrushes, pillows, books, toys, and even paper goods such as toilet paper and paper plates and cups are often in short supply. Adults who are rebuilding their lives also need products that will boost their self-esteem and confidence as they search for jobs or confront their abuser in court.  Thus, even make-up, hair care products and professional-looking clothes are important needs.

“The College of Fine Arts invites everyone to join us in this collection drive,” special projects coordinator Jaye Ike said. “Last year, we were fortunate to have the help of organizations getting involved. Local businesses, doctor’s offices, the residence halls at Marshall – several groups worked together to collect items at their locations. We hope that we’ll be just as successful this year.”

For more information, or a list of suggested donations, contact Jaye Ike, special projects coordinator for COFA: 304-696-3296 or