Crisis center kitchen witches ensure a fresh start


TINLEY PARK, IL – One in four women and one in nine men have experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime, according to the Crisis Center for South Suburbia. Living with an abusive partner is not easy. Most people who survive in abusive relationships have little or no control over their lives or finances.

“By the time a victim of domestic violence finds the courage to leave and come to our emergency shelter, she barely holds on,” said Sarah Tygart, director of victim services at the Southern Suburbs Crisis Center. . The local agency has been providing support, accommodation, housing, counseling, advocacy and education services for more than 40 years in the southern suburbs of Chicago.

According to a press release from the shelter, many victims who are living temporarily in the shelter are transitioning to the agency’s transitional housing program which provides community apartments and support services for up to 24 months while survivors work to find a shelter. employment or to improve their employment. skills, so that they can obtain permanent housing.

One of the keys to a successful transition from a shelter to a fresh start in an apartment has been Zelda’s Kitchen Witches, a group of dedicated women who stocked kitchen shelves and counters in transitional housing apartments with small appliances, dishes, pots, pans, and everything you need in the kitchen, the release said.

Kitchen Witches get their name from the dolls often given to women who move into a new home. According to an old European tradition, dolls represent good luck.

“When we know a client is leaving the shelter for one of our apartments, we call Zelda’s Kitchen Witches,” said Dany Garcia, director of operations at the crisis center. “They make our guests feel welcome. They leave a personal note and a little gift with all the kitchen essentials, and when guests move into permanent accommodation, they take everything they need with them. them.”

The “witches” generally organize showers throughout the year and use the donations to supply the kitchens.

“It wasn’t easy to collect donations during COVID, but we were able to meet every request,” said Janet Evans, founder of Zelda’s Kitchen Witches. Over the past few years, Zelda’s Kitchen Witches have helped 35 families supply their kitchens.

“We are happy to be a part of the great strides these courageous women are making. The Crisis Center should be proud of its successful transitional housing program. We’re just happy to be able to help, ”said Evan.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence can be physical, financial and emotional. One constant is that this is one person exercising control over another. Domestic violence is the most common but least reported crime in the United States, according to the release.

For more information on domestic violence and the free services offered at the Southern Suburbs Crisis Center, visit If you are a victim of domestic violence, call 708-429-SAFE (7233).

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