The Ashland Beacon
A new business in town, Five Below opened recently in the Ashland Town Center Mall, but even before the doors were open to the public, it showed support for the community by making a donation to Hope’s Place Child Advocacy Center.
“We are very appreciative – this will help out a lot of kiddos and families. It was a huge donation,” said Hope’s Place financial administrator Cassie Murphy. “We went down to the Five Below on January 30 and picked up everything.” She said the donation will help ease their clients through a difficult time. Hope’s Place provides services to survivors of child sexual abuse, as well as non-offending family members.
“Ashley Long, the new manager at Five Below, is a personal friend of mine, and she called me about the donation,” Murphy said. She explained that when items have been on the shelf too long, the items are pulled and sometimes donate to local organizations.
Items donated included board games, play dough, slime-making kits, puzzles, and other games and toys for the children served by Hope’s Place, as well as such useful items as hand sanitizer, wipes, and tote bags.
“Our advocates often take items with them to court for them to play with while waiting,” Murphy said. “You know how it is with court, sometimes you have to sit and wait for hours until you’re called. These items will help keep them occupied.”
She also said the craft items such as the slime kits and play dough will be used as sensory items during counseling sessions to help clients in dealing with the emotional effects of their situations. She said the organization also keeps a “treasure box” with small toys for the children to choose after a difficult session.
“Fundraising has been down, due to Covid, so this donation came at a perfect time,” Murphy said. “I’d say there was probably over $1000 worth of items that were donated.”
Murphy also mentioned that Hope’s Place also works with the Shop with a Cop program to provide Christmas gifts for the children they help. She also said one of the organization’s primary fundraisers, the Chocolate Extravaganza, is coming up in March at the Town Center Mall, for anyone who wishes to help out the center.
Tiffany Jobe, director of Hope’s place, explained that the agency usually seeks monetary donations since all the services they offer are free. “We are partially state and federally funded, with donor matches from the community. The monetary donations are used to provide mental health and other therapies for the children. Our therapists are trained in different aspects of interventions, including play and sensory therapy. So these donations really help with that.” She noted that monetary donations are also used to fund continuing education for the therapists.
“These kids come from very bad situations, and from all walks of life,” Jobe said. “And sometimes it will be their birthday, and they’re not going to get a present. So we help provide that sense of normalcy.” She noted that their numbers have surged during the pandemic, and they were serving over 550 clients in 2020.
“We offer therapies that help people deal with trauma, including forensic interviews and medical exams,” Jobe said. “We have a doctor who volunteers, but some things aren’t covered by grants, so donations are used for that.”
“We love when members of the community think of us like this, and come to us with donations,” Jobe said. “They have no idea how much it means, especially to the kids.”