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Actress Mariska Hargitay and the Joyful Heart Foundation Join philosophy to Serve Women in Crisis Throughout Los Angeles County
Date:11/9/2009

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Nov. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Actress Mariska Hargitay and the Joyful Heart Foundation joined philosophy on Saturday to raise awareness about the need for domestic violence support services throughout California by building healing and wellness kits for women in crisis shelters. Enough kits were created to give one to each of the estimated 600 women currently being served in one of Los Angeles County's domestic violence shelters.

"Our goal is to shine a light on this issue, and to send a message of compassion, encouragement and hope to survivors of domestic violence," said Joyful Heart Foundation's Founder and President, Mariska Hargitay.

Facing one of the worst state budget crisis in history, California's domestic violence services budget has been drastically cut, forcing many shelters to turn away or cut services to families in need.

"As a result of the elimination of state shelter funding, six facilities have closed and dozens of others have had to scale back the services they offer to domestic violence victims and their children," said Tara Shabazz, executive director of the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence. "CPEDV and our allies are continuing to work to see full funding restored to our state's shelters. We are deeply grateful to the Joyful Heart Foundation and philosophy for the care they are showing to those we serve."

To respond to the crisis, philosophy and the Joyful Heart Foundation brought together more than 75 volunteers, including Hargitay, her celebrity friends, advocates, survivors and supporters to assemble "healing and wellness kits" for the women. The kits are designed to meet the immediate needs of women in shelters and also to inspire them with a sense of joy and possibility amidst this crisis.

"We anticipate that these kits will bring women h
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