Salon collects gently-used toiletries for women’s shelter

For many people, hairstyling without a blow-dryer would be the start of a very long day.

But a woman escaping an abusive relationship is more likely to be thinking about her children and herself, not the styling tools. If she’s lucky, she has time to pack some clothes before dashing to a shelter.

So, All About U salon and spa in Millville is collecting gently-used beauty products and tools for the People’s Place domestic-abuse shelters in Sussex County.

“It’s really just something to make the women feel valued,” said salon owner Rebecca Chandler. “They don’t have hairbrushes, or they don’t have curling irons. I know how valued it makes me feel and my clients feel to take care of ourselves.”

What can people do with excess beauty products sitting in bathroom cabinets — the hotel samples, not-quite-right hair product or unwanted Christmas soaps? Chandler will take all of it.

“It’s something we all have, and you don’t know what to do with it,” Chandler said. “It’s like a salon recycling program. And it’s a need.”

In just the first week, they had received a pile of items, from basic shampoos to high-end perfumes.

“We’ll sanitize all the bottles. … We’ll also [check] that it’s fit to give somebody. The ladies at the shelter said, when the women arrive, they basically have nothing,” Chandler said.

Donations can include hairbrushes, hairdryers, heat stylers, shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, deodorant, styling products, makeup bags, cotton balls, cotton swabs, makeup sponges and brushes, tampons, sanitary pads, toothbrushes, toothpaste, hairbands and related beauty or hygiene products.

“Just bring it,” Chander said, since volunteers will clean the bottles, sanitize the brushes and cull the questionable items.

“A lot of these women go to the shelters, and they’re trying to restart their lives, look for jobs,” so Chandler wants to build their confidence as soon as they face the bathroom mirror each morning. A nice hairstyle, new makeup or dab of perfume can quickly add something special. Look good, feel good.

Chandler has heard of the women clamoring to use the shelter’s single InStyler heat iron.

“So now these ladies will get to have something for themselves,” Chandler said. “And it’s so simple. We can make a difference with things hiding under our sink. It seems too easy!”

For the salon, it was a natural fit, because beauty and styling products are their life. In the future, they hope to partner with other salons, or to collect other shelter items.

Donations are being accepted during regular business hours, from Tuesday to Saturday, at 35825 Atlantic Avenue in Millville. Details are available by calling (302) 539-1925 or online at www.allaboutUsalonandspa.com.

In the U.S., 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men have been the victims of contact sexual violence, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner, according to the CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 2010-2012 State Report. Domestic violence can affect people of any age, gender or socio-economic group.

During regular business hours, people needing assistance due to abuse can contact the Shelter Advocacy Freedom & Empowerment (SAFE) office at (302) 422-8033 or safe@peoplesplace2.com. The People’s Place website is www.peoplesplace2.com.

For emergency services, people should call 911; or the SAFE 24-hour domestic violence hotline for Sussex and Kent County at (302) 422-8058; or the Abriendo Puertas (Opening Doors) emergency shelter program for Latina women and children in Sussex County at (302) 745-9874.

Their domestic violence shelters in Kent and Sussex County provide emergency housing in a safe environment, with advocacy and case management services.

They also offer counseling centers in Millsboro (30265 Commerce Drive, Suite 201, or call 302-934-0300), Seaford, Milford and Smyrna; a Group Home for Girls ages 13 to 17 in the foster care system (call 302-424-3580); Family Visitation Centers for a safe and neutral environment for parents to access or visit their child or children in Georgetown, Dover and Milford (call 302-424-2420); an Independent Living program for current and former foster youth ages 16-21 (call 302-422-8033, ext. 176); and Turning Point services focused on batterer-intervention in Kent and Sussex Counties for domestic violence offenders, victims and children.

By Laura Walter
Staff Reporter