"I have a friend who had a situation where she was being abused and nobody knew," said Laura Wright, an Annapolis resident who owns Liu Liu Salon in Eastport. "A lot of times these women have to run out of their house, grab their kids and get out of there ... they don't even have night clothes to wear."
This holiday season, Wright and her employees at Liu Liu Salon are giving back to women in need by collecting nightgowns for victims of domestic violence. The salon will donate items to Arden House, a local women's shelter for those suffering from domestic violence run by the YWCA.
So far, the stylists have rallied to fill an entire box full of women's nightgowns and slippers donated from clients, friends, family and the community. The effort to collect pajamas, robes and other items will continue during the next few weeks.
The Arden House shelter provides support groups, one-on-one counseling, transportation, food, and clothing for women across Anne Arundel County and workers there say every donation helps.
"We are trying to bring hope and a positive outlook to women in domestic violence," said Anita Green, a case manager at Arden House. "It's good to give women that good feeling and self esteem."
To help Green and others who work at Arden House do that, the employees of Liu Liu Salon are doing more than just donating nightgowns.
"We are donating money that we usually use for 'Secret Santa' to get gift cards," said Stephanie Flanagan, a stylist at Liu Liu.
Wright said it's a small sacrifice that can have a big impact on those in need.
"I think that we just need to give back to other women because there's nothing that any of us need for Christmas that badly," Wright said.
The employees of Liu Liu donate regularly to charities, such as Maryland Therapeutic Riding and Locks of Love. Seeing a need to provide help beyond just the holiday season, they make an effort to continually give back to their community and raise awareness throughout the year.
Wright said this particular cause — helping victims of domestic violence — is important because it's often something that's not talked about by victims.
"One of my clients is a therapist for the YWCA and she works at the hospital. She said she had about 11 cases the other night. They are all local," said Wright. "It's something that we just don't even know about. People don't talk about it because they are embarrassed that this could happen to them."
At Arden House, they are pleased to know that local businesses such as Liu Liu are exercising their philanthropic duties.
"It's really good," said Green, referring to the nightgown donations. "That's not something they (women) would be able to afford in the safehouse. We thank them so much and surely appreciate their donations."
As far as continuing to raise awareness and collect donations, Wright's hopes are high.
"I just wish that everybody when they're out doing their Christmas shopping gets an extra pair of pajamas and brings them by," said Wright. "Just to have some nice, cozy flannel pajamas and know that some other woman cares about you — that alone is amazing."
Liu Liu Salon on Bay Ridge Road in Eastport is currently collecting new nightgowns, robes and slippers. Please drop off donations during regular business hours; salon is closed on Sunday and Monday. For more information, call 410-263-5555 or e-mail email@example.com.