Local women devise new plan for raising money

October 19, 2010 12:52:33 AM PDT
Charities nationwide haven't been in this much pain since the 1980s. A new report by the Chronicle of Philanthropy shows charitable donations plummeted in 2009. That's a drop four times greater than the next biggest decrease in 2001. For some non-profits, this could be it.

As a result, many charities are looking for new ways to raise much needed funds. Two Bay Area women came up with a unique concept -- swapping goods to raise money for domestic violence shelters hit hard by the recession. It is a concept that's now spreading across the nation.

"Swap For Good" is a new party trend that encourages reusing and recycling slightly used goods for a cause. Most of the time ladies gather to swap clothing and the donations raised will go to local domestic violence shelters.

"During the recession the demand for domestic violence services, like shelters and hotlines, was skyrocketing 30 percent higher than normal years, while at the same the funding was being completely cut and so shelters were closing their doors," says Brianna Cayo Cotter, co-founder of Swap For Good.

What is swapped or traded for is all free. Party goers then calculate how much they would have spent on the items and then donate that amount. It is a giving trend that has gone nationwide.

"I don't think we anticipated the great response we've had. I mean, so far we've had almost 100 events signed up in over 15 states," says Orli Cotel, co-founder of Swap For Good.

La Casa de las Madres is one domestic violence shelter in San Francisco answers 5,000 crisis calls a year. The shelter has seen their funding drop 20 percent. With 450 women and children desperate for their services, donations from the community are needed. Swap For Good donated $1,000 last summer.

"$5 is a crisis line call for someone who is taking the first step to leave a dangerous situation; $10 is enough to feed 17 children in our emergency shelter a healthy balanced meal," says Jamie Cox from La Casa de las Madres.

Swap For Good hopes the gatherings will not only create a new shopping trend, but also get people talking about a crime that is often kept quiet.

For support and information call the La Casa de las Madres 24-hour Crisis Lines:
Adult Line: 1-877-503-1850
Teen Line: 1-877-923-0700


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