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When Libraries Lend More Than Books: A Day Of Donating

Anastasia Lennon

Quogue Library's "The Great Give Back" collection is growing daily. (Courtesy Photo)

To many of us, October is the month of pumpkin picking, haunted houses, and campaigns to 'paint the town pink' with ribbons and flags for Breast Cancer Awareness. Perhaps less known is that October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and The Retreat, Inc. of East Hampton is teaming up with local libraries to collect art supplies, make-up, and personal care products for the women, children, and families who seek shelter and safety from domestic abuse and sexual assault.

On Saturday, October 14, libraries throughout Suffolk County will be hosting events as part of "The Great Give Back," a community service initiative launched this year by Suffolk County Public Library Directors Association and the Suffolk Cooperative Library System that allows local libraries and their patrons to "participate in meaningful, service-oriented experiences." One such library is Hampton Library (2478 Main Street, Bridgehampton). All day, the library will be collecting art therapy supplies for The Retreat. Quogue Library (90 Quogue Street, Quogue) will also be participating, and from 3 pm. to 4:30 p.m., one can help build 'personal care kits' with items that have been collected at the library since Sunday, October 1. The library is still accepting donations, which can be dropped off at a receptacle bin during the library's operating hours. Items needed are listed in the Quogue Library newsletter and include, but are not limited to, hair brushes, face wash, make-up, and body wash.

Selina Pasca, Adult Program Coordinator for Quogue Library, is incredibly proud of this initiative. "When our library Director, Lonna Theiling told me about 'The Great Give Back' we chose to work with The Retreat because I had worked in community relations for The Retreat and knew the organization's needs well and believed we should support a local organization," she explained.

The Retreat, Inc. is a not-for-profit established in 1987 that provides domestic violence and sexual assault services to women, children, and families in Suffolk and Nassau counties.

Pasca says that the response from the community has been enormous. "Our patrons are even going out and getting support from local businesses such as Barth's Pharmacy and they are stepping up to donate personal care goods as well," she noted.

"Quogue Library is proud to give our patrons an opportunity to directly help others. We have a fantastically supportive community in Quogue," added Lonna Theiling, Director of Quogue Library.

In addition to receiving support from Quogue Library and Hampton Library, The Retreat will also receive resources from Montauk Library (871 Montauk Highway, Montauk). The library will be collecting items between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. not only for The Retreat, but also for The Montauk Lions Club and The Montauk Food Pantry. More information regarding the type of goods to be collected can be found on the Montauk Library's official website.

"Community support is vital to The Retreat, so we are honored to be chosen by three of our local libraries to be a recipient of 'The Great Give Back,'" explained Vanessa Petruccelli, Community Outreach Coordinator of The Retreat, Inc. "Not only do programs like this provide us with much needed items needed for our clients, they spread the word of our services to those in need."

John Jermain Memorial Library (201 Main Street, Sag Harbor) and East Hampton Library's (159 Main Street, East Hampton) efforts will focus on supporting local food pantries, while Amagansett Library will present a Thank-You Letter Campaign.

For more information about The Great Give Back, visit thegreatgiveback.org. For more information about The Retreat, please visit www.theretreatinc.org.

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