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As summer continues, donations continue at a slow but steady rate at Amberly’s Place – but the need is always there.
Tori Bourguignon, Amberly’s executive director, says the nonprofit organization particularly needs snacks, Walmart gift cards and monetary donations for the victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence and elder abuse whom it serves.
Snacks are important, as some cases require forensic interviews and sexual assault exams, which can up to take three to six hours hours, she said. Gift cards to Walmart help provide emergency needs for victims, such as door lock replacements or perishable food items.
Monetary donations also appreciated, she said, because, “We never quite know what the emergency needs of victims are going to be.”
The Amberly’s Place Thrift Store can use donations of men’s clothes, said Alejandrina Ramirez, the store manager. Victims served by Amberly’s Place, among them men, can pick out times for free at the store.
“People can often forget that men are victims, too,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez also asks for kitchen and furniture items, as these are top sellers. Furniture is among the items most needed by victims who have to start over after leaving unsafe situations. Proceeds from all sales at the thrift store go into emergency funds for victims.
Despite business slowing down at the store due to the heat and the lack of winter visitors, who tend to be frequent customers, store personnel are eager to serve the public, Ramirez said. In fact, there has been a recent remodeling of the thrift store, including new flooring and slatwall panels, which allows for more clothes to be on display.
The store is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. It is located at 812 S. Avenue A.
When asked how else Yumans could help Amberly’s Place, Bourguignon replied, “One of the greatest ways the Yuma community can help Amberly’s Place is to be our eyes and ears and to be mindful of what’s happening in your neighborhood and your schools. Report abuse.”
People should be especially aware of the children who may be abused.
As the new school year gets underway, Amberly’s Place tends to see an uptick of cases, Bourguignon said, since schools are required by law report suspected cases of children being abused in the home. “A report is that first step in allowing us to stop the abuse, allowing us to interrupt that cycle and to provide support and assistance in allowing that child be safe and feel safe.”
Ramirez says Yumans can also help by volunteering at the thrift store. “In order to volunteer, you can just walk into the thrift store and ask for an application, which states rules and asks for basic information.”
Four regular employees of Amberly’s Place staff the store, so extra help from volunteers is needed and appreciated, Ramirez said.
Asked about the most rewarding part of her job, Bourguignon said, “Every day that we, as a team, walk through the door here at Amberly’s Place, we have the opportunity to leave people better than we find them.”
She says it’s that opportunity that brought her back to Amberly’s Place following the retirement of Diane Umphress as executive director earlier this year.
“It never gets old; you can’t put a price tag on knowing you did something that mattered to someone else. My team and I also bear witness to an incredible amount of strength, courage, and perseverance that we would otherwise never know about.”
Amberly’s Place is Yuma County’s family advocacy center, providing victim services in police investigations of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, elder abuse and human trafficking. It is located at 1310 S. 3rd Ave. For more information, visit amberlysplace.com.