AUSTIN (KXAN) — As SAFE Alliance describes it, they are low on “bare necessities” — the basic personal and hygiene items they use to make life easier for people who have experienced violence and abuse.

Due to an increase in clients moving into their shelters this summer and a lull in donations, SAFE is asking for help from the public.

“We simply do not have many of the vital supplies that people need when living in our shelters,” the SAFE website says.

The nonprofit explained that their summer use of things like baby wipes, hair care products, underwear, and bedding is outpacing the donations they are receiving of those items. Additionally, SAFE explained that they are in particular need of underwear for their clients, a previous partnership which supplied underwear for them has recently ended.

Ideally, SAFE is hoping for donations of gift cards or new items to meet these needs. They welcome donations of items that can be used by all ages and all genders.

SAFE operates shelters, offers resources, legal assistance, counseling, and a host of other services to help people in the Austin area who have experienced violence and abuse. The nonprofit continues to see an increased need for its services from the Austin community.

In the 2017 fiscal year, their SAFEline hotline responded to 14,537 calls, chats, and texts. In their 2018 fiscal year, their SAFEline responded to 19,513 calls, chats, and texts.

A donation bin at the SAFE Alliance warehouse with items for people using SAFE’s services (KXAN Photo/ Alyssa Goard)

Items SAFE needs

The nonprofit said they are looking for

  • Underwear for all ages, genders, and sizes
  • Baby wipes
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Hairbrushes and hair care products, especially for African American and Black hair care
  • Twin sheets and blankets (gently used and new accepted)
  • Bed pillows
  • Bath towels (gently used and new accepted)

“When people come to our emergency shelter, they are often coming with literally nothing,” explained Heather Henry, Development Officer for SAFE.

“Sometimes they maybe have a bag that they were able to pack, other times its just them and their clothes on their back,” Henry said. “What that means for us is we need to provide a lot of these basic necessities, so the way that we think about it is, if you left your house in the middle of the night, what are some of the basic things you might need? Shampoo? Conditioner? You know, a pillow to sleep on? All that kind of stuff that you don’t’ really think about until you don’t have it.”

She explained that as Austin grows, they are seeing more people coming in to seek help from SAFE.

“The resources that are available are not necessarily expanding at a similar rate, so we’re struggling in that way, we’re struggling to keep up with the capacity of people that need our support,” Henry said. “So we need to partner and work with our amazing community.”

“We just need their help to meet the need,” she reiterated.

On average, Henry said that SAFE sends out around 200 bottles of shampoo to their clients and more than 6,000 diapers.

How to donate

  • You can mail gift cards to P.O. Box 19454, Austin, TX 78760.
  • You can deliver items or gift cards to SAFE’s Donation Warehouse at 1515 Grove Blvd., Austin, Texas 78741 (Sundays and Fridays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Mondays-Thursdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
  • You can shop for items on SAFE’s Amazon or Target wish lists, which then ship to SAFE’s warehouse. Donors can also designate SAFE as their “Smile beneficiary” when shopping on Amazon.
  • Businesses and individuals can also organize donation drives by emailing:

If you or someone you know needs to get in touch with SAFE, you can call their 24-hour SAFEline at 512.267.SAFE (7233). You can also text 737.888.SAFE (7233) or use their SAFEline chat.