October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and your help is needed to raise awareness of the issue of domestic violence in our communities.

Catholic Charities, The Salvation Army Safehouse, the City of Elmira Police Department’s Victim Services Program and the Schuyler County District Attorney’s Office are partnering together to host two awareness events in Chemung and Schuyler Counties designed to remember those lost to domestic violence, honor the survivors of domestic violence and educate the public on the warning signs and resources available.

The second annual “Shine the Light on Domestic Violence” event will be held at Eldridge Park on Saturday, October 6 from 5 pm to 7 pm. The program, featuring survivors’ stories, a candlelight ceremony and The Caledonian Highlanders Pipe and Drum Band, will begin at 5:30 pm. A live remote with Ally Payne will begin at 4:30 pm with Ally as the emcee for the evening. Please bring your own chair. The Shine the Light Committee includes Kim Bourgeois, Chelsea Emery, Deane Gardner, Stefanie Holton, Kristine Morseman, Katie Rhodes, Lori Waters, Lindsay Winters, and Brenda Woodard.

The fifth annual “Take a Hike, Domestic Violence!” event will be held Saturday, October 13th at 9:30 am starting at the Schuyler Outreach Food Pantry (St. Mary’s Center, 112 10th St) in Watkins Glen. Registration begins at 9:30 am, with a brief program starting at 10 am. At 10:30 am, participants will hike the Watkins Glen State Park Gorge. Pre-registration for the Hike will be available online until noon on October 10.

Please plan to join us for one or both of these family-friendly events. Special event t-shirts are available at cs-cc.org for $10 (please pre-order by September 12 to guarantee your size). Limited quantities will be available at the events. Both events are open to the public and made possible by generous donations from local individuals and businesses including Chemung Supply Corporation and The Hilliard Corporation and a grant from the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes.

There is no registration fee for either event, but donations of $5 gift cards to local grocery stores or gas stations will be accepted to assist victims in obtaining needed items and support. These donations will go to Catholic Charities’ First Step Victim Services Program and The Salvation Army Safehouse.

The Shine the Light Committee is also challenging local businesses, organizations, churches, and individuals to help “Shine the Light” on domestic violence by displaying purple ribbons or using purple lights wherever they can during the month of October. Kristen Plyter, from the Schuyler County District Attorney’s office, explained the campaign, “The purple ribbon was originally used as a unifying symbol of courage, survival, honor, and dedication to ending domestic violence.  In addition to being used to show support for victims, the display of the ribbons throughout the community is a way to show a message that domestic violence is not and will not be tolerated within our community.”

The Shine the Light Committee will be hanging purple ribbons in Watkins Glen and Elmira for the month of October.

“Shine the Light on Domestic Violence” yard signs are also available and can be picked up from the Catholic Charities’ table during Wisner Market on September 27 from 10am-2pm or at the Falls Festival in Montour Falls on October 6 from noon-7pm.

For more information on both events, or to obtain a yard sign for your home, church or business, contact Katie Rhodes at 607.734.9784, ext. 2133 or visit the Catholic Charities’ website or Facebook page.