CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago area student athletes teamed up to send a powerful message Sunday with a big donation to a West Side shelter for abused women and their children.
Connections for Abused Women and their Children Executive Director, Stephanie Love-Patterson says an increasing number of families are turning to shelters for help because they're stuck sheltering in place with abusers.
"Oftentimes abusers will say, if you leave nobody's going to help you. Nobody cares about you. This demonstration today proves that people, amazing people that want to help them," Love-Patterson said.
More families in need means the shelter's resources are stretching thin.
That's where the organization Buddy's HELPERS stepped in, working with teens across the Chicago area to gather everything from toiletries to kids' toys.
It's part of the organization's "Making A Difference On And Off The Field" campaign, where student athletes aim to empower victims to escape domestic abuse.
"We need more money to help people stay in hotels, we need more money to provide food and things like that, for the women and children as they're sheltering in place," Wauconda High School Senior, Savannah Johnson said.
Donated items include soap, toothbrushes, clothes, children's toys, along with hand-written letters of encouragement from students.
"And just like that we had a whole truckload. My living room was full of all sorts of toys and toiletries, just anything, everyone is willing to give," Johnson said.
In addition to the dozens of items donated to CAWC, Buddy's HELPERS also donated a $500 check to help survivors.
For more information, visit Buddy's HELPERS Facebook Page.
Buddy's HELPERS: Chicago student athletes team up for donation to domestic abuse survivors