Rep. Judy Chu, D-El Monte, in partnership with Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center and Westfield West Covina hosted a day-long collection drive benefitting domestic violence survivors this weekend at Westfield West Covina.
"The issue of domestic violence crosses every ethnic group, every socio-economic background, every community," said Chu at the event which was attended by the public and members of local shelters including the YWCA San Gabriel Valley, Haven House, and the Asian Pacific Women's Center among others.
"When I went to the state assembly I found out just how big of an issue it was when I started talking to the statewide domestic violence organizations, but also locally," said Chu who added she began partnering with Kaiser nine years ago.
The donation event is part of Rep. Chu's and Baldwin Park Kaiser's annual Domestic Violence Campaign Clothing Drive during Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.
Victor Cheng, MD, from Kaiser Permanente said even though this year marks the 9th year the medical center partners with Chu, the event continues to grow.
"It used to be only three agencies we kind of partnered with, but now we’re up to five agencies, and also the amount of clothes and donation is greater. We had five donation sites, including Montebello, Baldwin Park, Diamond Bar and West Covina," Cheng said.
"As a whole Kaiser emphasizes on total health care, we don’t just focus on our members, we focus on the communities we serve, if the community is not doing good, suffering, then it’s not good for everyone. That’s part of the charity role Kaiser has been participating in," said Cheng.
"When a domestic violence survivor makes a decision to break that cycle of violence and to become whole and to liver her own life, sometimes she leaves with just the clothes on her back, so there’s desperate need for more things that will help her, including the professional clothes that will help her to get a new job. So Kaiser offered to collect these items, sort through them and then they are distributed," said Chu.
Ana Interiano, assistant director of the YWCA San Gabriel Valley's "Women in Need Growing Strong" (WINGS) Domestic Violence Program said they have been involved since the first year and work closely with Kaiser to provide assistance to victims.
Interiano said the YWCA tries to provides simple but necessary things people may take for granted such as toiletries, clothes and pajamas.
"I am so proud to help this effort to make sure that domestic violence survivors get the help that they need," said Chu while emphasizing that as an assembly member she helped enact laws to make sure domestic abusers would not get their retirement benefit proceeds.
"Today I am in congress and I am fighting for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and make sure that we have more funding for 35 million dollars so that our domestic violence shelters get the money they need," she said.
"This bill has been delayed for far too long, because of the presidential politics that there hasn’t been any action on it and I think that’s really a crime because way too many programs are suffering and domestic violence survivors need that help."
Chu said that when she began partnering with Kaiser, she decided to make refurbished cell phones available through Verizon Wireless so that victims would have a means to communicate during emergencies. The Congresswoman domanted old cell phones at the event and encouraged others to follow suit.
Chu said The violence Against Women Act has been renewed on the federal level, but it's been held up this year because of gridlock in Washington D.C.
"Surprisingly there’s gridlock on this, this should be an issue that no legislature has a problem with."