Again this year, WINGS volunteers will deliver a dozen roses to domestic violence victims on Valentine's Day.
One of the WINGS graduates, Sarah McClarey, started the WINGS Alumni Association a few years ago. Its signature project, Operation Shelter Cupid, delivers roses to people living in all of the WINGS facilities and two other shelters in the Chicago area.
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On McClarey's first Valentine's Day in a shelter, she bought herself flowers. The next year she gave them to other women like her and the program has expanded from there.
"Holidays were always the worst," McClarey said last year of her experience in a violent relationship. "So we took back this holiday and changed the meaning just to make sure these girls have a good day."
Each year, the group solicits financial support to buy the roses through a wholesale dealer. This year, a new WINGS board member, Kathy Mahne, senior vice president of claims in the Northbrook office of Allstate Insurance Co., worked with her employee group to raise the money to buy the roses.
They were delivered Thursday and arranged in vases for delivery on Valentine's Day.