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Public Safety’s Purple Box campaign to benefit children, families affected by domestic violence

November 22, 2019
row of large, purple containers each filled with toys and gifts.A collection of Purple Box donations for the Willow Domestic Violence Center from a recent holiday campaign. (University of Rochester photo)

Donations of new items are being accepted in the Purple Boxes now through Dec. 11.

The Department of Public Safety is leading its fifth annual Holiday Purple Box campaign to help families displaced because of domestic violence. Beginning now and through December 11, University community members can donate new items in the purple drop-off boxes at points across University campuses, with these donations going to survivors of domestic violence and their families in the Rochester area. These items are distributed at the Willow Domestic Violence Center shelter during the holidays and for celebrations throughout the year. Last year the University community responded overwhelmingly and filled more than 15 purple boxes with new items for families in need.

The purple boxes are located:

  • River Campus: Public Safety Headquarters, 612 Wilson Boulevard
  • Medical Center Public Safety Crime Prevention Office, G-6009
  • Strong Memorial Hospital Main Lobby, 1-1400
  • River Campus: Taylor Hall, Main Entrance (Title IX Office)
  • Bloch Alumni & Advancement Center, Suite 117
  • Strong West: Main Lobby
  • Eastman School of Music Welcome Center, Lowry Hall, and the Eastman Public Safety Office
  • Memorial Art Gallery: three locations
  • Brighton Health Center-Strong Ties & Strong Recovery

The Willow Center’s Purple Box campaign launches at this time each year in recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Public Safety officers join with other law enforcement leaders from Rochester area police departments to help make the holidays a little brighter for those families who are in the shelter. Willow Center families have survived trauma, violence, abuse, and relocation and are just beginning their journey to a safe and empowered life. The children in the shelter are away from everything familiar to them–their home, their toys, their friends. A kind gesture of providing new toys and items can give a child in crisis a sense of normalcy and hope. The children are also allowed to pick out gifts for their mothers for the holidays.

The Willow Center’s Holiday Wish List outlines the type of new donations accepted and most needed:

All ages:

  • Clothing and pajamas (sizes infant – 14/16 boys and girls)
  • Sneakers and boots
  • Coats and snow pants


  • Musical toys
  • Soft blocks and plush toys
  • Tummy time play mats
  • Picture Books


  • Cars, trucks and superheroes
  • Multicultural baby dolls, Disney princess & Barbie dolls
  • LeapFrog toys
  • Play food and grocery sets
  • Dinosaurs & zoo animal toys
  • Wii games (rated E)
  • Books

School Age:

  • Arts and crafts sets
  • Remote control cars
  • Fire trucks & Hot Wheels
  • Board games (UNO, Trouble, Sorry, Monopoly)
  • Books


  • Journals
  • Perfume/ Makeup/Cologne
  • Yoga pants
  • MP3 players
  • Sports team hoodies and hats
  • Flannel pants
  • Gift cards – Walmart, Target, Old Navy, iTunes
  • Play Station 3 Games – E for everyone


  • Pajamas/Robes
  • Bath sets
  • Journals
  • Slippers
  • Bath Towels
  • Gift cards

For more information about the Department of Public Safety’s Purple Box campaign, contact Investigator Lorri Gebhardt at 275-7410; Lt. Keri Stein at 275-0023; or Officer Erin Vess at 273-3942.

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