WEST ENGLEWOOD — As part of Domestic Violence Month, the Englewood Police District's CAPS program plans to donate toiletries collected at a Friday event to women shelters in Englewood.
The annual Stepping for a Purpose will run from 6-8 p.m. in the Lindblom Park community room, 6054 S. Damen Ave.
Rather than donate cash, organizers are asking people to donate toiletries.
"I would not label this as a fundraiser because we are not trying to raise money but items to help women at shelters," said Officer Daliah Goree, who works with the CAPS Domestic Violence Subcommittee in the Englewood District. "Last year about 50 people showed up, but we hope to double that this year with all the publicity we have been getting."
She added that guests will dance away with music by DJ Lynn Batie, and free refreshments would also be served.
"We just want everybody to come and have a good time," Goree said. "Women are usually responsible for buying their own toiletries at shelters and we want to help them out."
Chicago Police Deputy Chief Leo Schmitz is also a sponsor for the event and is expected to attend, Goree said.
Shelter residents said they are grateful to the police for their help.
"Soap, deodorant and toothpaste can add up when you don't have a job or an income," said Felicia Bates, 33, a resident at Clara's Place since 2007. "I have been looking for a job, but no one seems to be hiring."
Regardless if women can afford toiletries or not they still receive assistance at Maria Shelter, said Angela Hicks, executive director of the Institute of Women Today, a nonprofit organization that runs the shelter.
"We help women get back on their feet and on their way," Hicks said. "The average resident stays here eight months, although 18 months is our target time frame for assisting them to find employment and permanent housing."