WILLIAMSPORT - A fancy women's boutique that raises money for domestic violence, sexual assault and homeless shelters for women is a perfect solution to serve Lycoming County. It is a win-win situation according to YWCA director, Diane Glenwright who has been a resident of Muncy for the past 20 years.
This month is Domestic Violence Awareness month and the YWCA in Williamsport is hosting a series of events to bring more resources and education to the rural areas.
Often a woman who is in a domestic violent situation and has no transportation to reach the shelters can feel stranded, and often alone. Glenwright has assured that anyone who is encountering an abusive situation can get help through the Wise Options program which operates through the YWCA. "Just call our crisis hotline number at 1-800-326-8483 and we can arrange transportation. We can come and get you," she said, especially if there is no public transportation available.
BARBARA BARRETT/The Luminary
Amber Morningstar and Diane Glenwright from Muncy arrange jewelry and accessories for the 'The Boutique', a shop at the YWCA in Williamsport that specializes in high quality, gently worn clothing for women. All proceeds benefit the women in the shelters, and donations are tax deductible.
Glenwright who has been director for the YWCA for the past 15 years, said that Wise Options is just one of several programs available. "We provide a 30 day shelter for women and children and also a homeless shelter for those who are eligible."
"We can help clients get here," said Amber Morningstar, program director for the YWCA and also a graduate from Muncy High School.
To help finance the shelters, the YWCA opened a boutique shop that specializes in a variety of high quality, gently worn clothing and accessories for women and children. It is open to the public Wednesday through Saturday and all sales and proceeds benefit the shelters.
Donations also are accepted anytime during the business week and are tax deductible. Besides clothing some things to donate for the shelters are unwanted cellphones and batteries, towels and washcloths, hair brushes, bus passes, women's underwear (must be new), laundry detergent, kitchen towels, dishes and silverware.
The boutique is run by volunteers and board members. "So far it's been great for us," said Glenwright, "and an excellent shopping experience." She also commented that volunteers are always needed to help with the clothing.
This month the women who are residing in the shelters made purple key chains and purple pocket purses in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness month and are selling them in the boutique.
"Everything here is used to take care of people. It is a positive reason to come to our building and look for our services." Glenwright's decision to make a second hand clothing store has been a success, and other advocacy groups have been using it as well. Women from the shelters can get clothing for free, especially for job interviews. "It's not just jeans and workwear," replied Morningstar. Women can also choose special occasion clothing or prom wear. "We sell more than 16,000 garments each year," said Anna Thompson, communications and development director for the Y.
Everything is recycled. If it doesn't get used, it is bundled up and taken to the Rescue Workers.
So far this year, 63 women and children have been housed through the YWCA. A vigil of remembrance was held on October 19 in front of the Lycoming County Courthouse and during October the "Empty Place at the Table" and the "Clothesline Project" are on display at the YWCA to honor the 15 lives lost so far from domestic violence in Lycoming County.
In November, the Boutique will be open to shop during the Victorian Holiday tour on Saturday, Nov. 19. The YWCA is located at 815 W. 4th St., Williamsport.