Ricker’s Provides “Safe Haven” at all Hamilton County Stores

Starting today (October 21), all Hamilton County Ricker’s Convenience Stores will offer anyone in an abusive situation a safe refuge and place to call for help. Alternatives Incorporated, a nonprofit specializing in the prevention of domestic violence, and United Way of Central Indiana are partners to extend the service throughout Hamilton County.

“Ricker’s is an ideal place for Safe Haven because of its 24/7 hours of operation as well as its locations and proximity to neighborhoods,” said Mary Jo Lee, CEO of Alternatives. “Convenience stores also allow victims a discreet way to get help as other customers will likely assume they are there to shop.”

Ricker’s already provides the Safe Haven program at its Madison County stores. “We are thrilled to provide this same service for victims in Hamilton County,” said Nancy Ricker, co-founder of Ricker’s. “The well-being of the communities we serve is a high priority of Ricker’s, and we are willing to do whatever we can to help those in need.”

United Way of Central Indiana’s President and CEO Ann D. Murtlow called the collaboration a “welcome step forward in helping anyone escape violence so they can begin their emotional, physical and economic healing and stabilization.”

One in four families experience domestic violence, and Hamilton County families are not spared. Noblesville Police Chief Kevin Jowitt commented, “Hamilton County law enforcement officers are grateful this life-saving partnership is coming to our communities.”

A sign on the stores signal that victims can enter the Safe Haven where Ricker’s staff is trained to assist victims in calling 911 or Alternatives, depending on the situation. Alternatives then arranges for victims to be transported from the store to emergency shelter. From there, Alternatives’ staff begins assessing victims’ needs.

First launched at Ricker’s in Madison County in June of 2003, the Safe Haven concept stems from concerns expressed by a police chief in a small Madison County community that domestic violence victims had nowhere to seek help round-the-clock. In November 2014, the Safe Haven program received national recognition when Alternatives was one of 131 organizations highlighted by Vice President Joseph Biden during the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act. The program was identified as an innovative collaboration serving victims of domestic violence.

Ricker’s and community partners celebrated expansion of the program to Hamilton County with a kick-off event this morning at the Ricker’s Carmel store,14590 River Road.

Ricker’s: Headquartered in Anderson, Ricker’s mission is to be the upscale convenience store of choice in Indiana. Ricker’s was founded in 1979 by Jay and Nancy Ricker in Middletown, Indiana. Ten years later, they purchased the company’s first convenience store. Since its inception, Ricker’s has grown to include more than 52 high-end convenience stores, which employ more than 700 Hoosiers. Ricker’s prides itself on clean stores, a friendly environment and staff, and its famous “RickerPop” fountain drinks.

United Way of Central Indiana: United Way of Central Indiana helps people learn more, earn more and lead safe and healthy lives. United Way gets things done by mobilizing people and community partners in six Central Indiana counties to identify, advance and advocate the best solutions. LIVE UNITED is a call to action for everyone to be part of the change.

Alternatives Incorporated: Alternatives Incorporated is a private, not-for-profit operating with a mission to eradicate domestic and sexual violence through prevention, education and intervention in Central Indiana.  The agency was founded in 1978.  The core programs are a 30-bed emergency shelter and a 24/7 crisis line.  Alternatives serves the six counties of Hamilton, Hancock, Henry, Madison, Marion and Tipton.  The agency’s base operation is located in Madison County.  Satellite offices are located in Hamilton, Hancock and Tipton Counties and the City of Elwood.  Alternatives’ comprehensive emergency shelter includes the provision of meals; clothing; emergency and essential transportation; case management;  educational groups; and advocacy and support for victims.  Additional shelter programs are five units of transitional housing; a weekday preschool; an on-site employment training center coordinated with Ivy Tech Community College; and an afterschool and summer program for school aged children.


Posted on: October 22, 2015 @ 10:03 am