East student crowdsources donations for domestic abuse victims

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Courtesy of Marly Gates ('20)

Marly Gates (’20) makes donations as a way to help victims of domestic abuse.

It all started when Marly Gates (‘20) and her mom were on a walk. Her mom mentioned that NPR reported a surge in domestic violence due to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. Gates had already been considering filling some of her extra Ipsy bags — leftovers from a makeup subscription service which comes in reusable bags — and donating them. Hearing about the report, Gates decided to fill them with toiletries for victims of domestic abuse.

“I figured I could help make things a bit easier for them and for the shelters and police departments that people are going to for help,” said Gates.

Starting with the travel-sized toiletries that she had bought for the senior trip to Disney and her extra Ipsy bags, Gates reached out on Facebook and Instagram to ask for donations. She has a crate in front of her house for donations and has been driving around doing porch pick-ups for anyone who does not want to come to her. She has also been accepting monetary donations, which she plans to use to fill in any gaps in products that physical donations may have been short on.

“It’s just been incredible, how many people have actually reached out, wanting to help,” said Gates.

Gates’s original goal of 50 bags was surpassed on the first day. By the second, she had tripled that. Now aiming for a minimum of 200 bags, Gates is distributing them. The Head of Domestic Abuse at the Cherry Hill Police Department is picking up donations this week. Other places that expect donations are Volunteers of America, a nonprofit that offers assistance to underserved demographics; ASPIRE Inc., a group that helps victims of human trafficking; and the Camden County Women’s Shelter.

I’ve always wanted to do some work in giving back to the community. I just never had the schedule or ability to do so. And now that I’m at home… I figured why not?”

— Marly Gates ('20)

“I’ve always wanted to do some work in giving back to the community. I just never had the schedule or ability to do so. And now that I’m at home… I figured why not?” said Gates. “I have something that I can do with my time that helps others. There’s really no excuse for me not to. So I just did it.”
Gates has found that more people want to help than one would expect — you just have to give them an outlet through which to give back. She will be collecting toiletries until the end of May.

“Don’t be afraid to give. Someone is always in need of help,” said Gates. “Be the person who helps others.’”