Soap Drive to Benefit Catholic Charities’ First Step Victim Services Program

Stacys Soap Drive Final

Each year in October, advocates, survivors, and supporters recognize October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM).

More prevalent than most realize, one in four women and one in nine men will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. Anyone, regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status, can become a victim of domestic violence.

Stacy’s Soap Drive, now in its seventh year, is one way the community can give back during this month. Valerie Colunio started a soap drive after the tragic death of Kelley Stage. While Valerie’s son was working on a project at school to build wells in another country, he pointed out that they didn’t have basic items like soap. This prompted Valerie to consider that our community could be facing the same issue. If someone is leaving a domestic violence situation, they may leave with nothing. It would be wonderful to have their basic needs met, to feel some sort of normalcy when they take that first step of leaving.

Valerie works with a host of community partners to make this a true community project. Valerie said, “I personally just have compassion for people, and I know it’s hard to ask for help or take the first step. Many of us know that domestic violence does not pick a certain gender or social class. It does not discriminate between the rich and the poor. It could happen to anyone. It could be your friend, a family member, or your own children. It could be you. No one should ever be ashamed to ask for help. It takes a community to stand up and make a change.”

Ashley Kerrick, Schuyler County Director, expressed her thoughts on the drive – “Stacy’s Soap Drive is incredible! These items allow the victims we serve to have the basics that they may have had to leave behind. It also raises awareness in the community of the issue of domestic violence.”

Stacy’s Soap Drive will be running until October 21 at various community locations. For a complete list, please see the image below.

On October 24, there will be a presentation as the items that have been collected are given to Catholic Charities First Step Victim Services Program at the Elmira Elks Club at 5 p.m. This event is open to the public.

Two additional events will be held that will be an opportunity to remember those lost to domestic violence and educate us on the reality in our community. Luminaries will be lit to honor those impacted by domestic violence.

• In Schuyler County, join us on October 19 in LaFayette Park in Watkins Glen from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm.
• In Chemung County, the event will be held at Wisner Park in Elmira on October 26 from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm.

Attendees are encouraged to wear purple and visit the Catholic Charities’
table to pick up information on services.

Free and confidential help is available 24/7 for individuals experiencing domestic violence. Those seeking help may contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at or 1-(800) 799-SAFE (800) 799-7233)
or our First Step Victim Services Hotline at 607-742-9629 (call or text).