Purple Leash Project and 'Courageous Together' Making a Difference at the ShopRite LPGA Classic

 Purple Leash Project and 'Courageous Together' Making a Difference at the ShopRite LPGA Classic

By Carson Racich


GALLOWAY N.J. – As fans entered the grounds at the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer, they marveled at all of the different organizations supporting the tournament in Expo Village. One, however, stood out amongst the rest – literally.


Purina’s Purple Leash Project, a non-profit organization whose mission is to become a beacon of hope and support for domestic abuse survivors and their pets by creating pet-friendly shelters and provide necessary support for victims., was on-site at the ShopRite LPGA Classic Friday-Sunday during tournament week, introducing fans to their mission and cause.


Next to the Purple Leash Project’s expo tent was one of the most powerful symbols within their mission that drives conversation – a statue titled ‘Courageous Together.’


“The statue represents the first steps taken by an abuse victim and their dog or pet towards safety,” said Michael Leone with the Purple Leash Project. “The purple leash signifies the unbreakable bond and the passion between them.”


This statue was unveiled nationally earlier this year on Good Morning America. This beautiful piece has been shared amongst communities in order to raise awareness and support to keep change moving in a positive direction and to raise support for those victims. .


“Domestic violence is a pervasive issue,” said Leone. “It’s heart-wrenching to learn that over 48% of people in these situations choose to stay with their abuser because they’re afraid to leave their pets behind.”


Nearly a decade ago, a Purina associate read about the difficult decision many abuse survivors with pets are forced to make: stay with an abuser or leave a beloved pet behind. It seemed unfair that pets, who may be the only source of unconditional love and support for a survivor, weren’t considered. So, Purina decided to help.


Since then, Purina helped one of the largest domestic violence shelters in the U.S. to become a leading voice and shining example of pet-friendly sheltering.


Today, the Purple Leash Project’s goal is to help ensure at least 25 percent of U.S. domestic violence shelters offer pet-friendly services by the end of 2025. Grants have been provided to 48 shelters across the country, and every state now has at least one pet-friendly shelter, The Project’s long-term goal is to fundamentally change the landscape of domestic violence services for survivors with pets, so no survivor has to choose between their own safety and the safety of their pet. Through their tireless efforts, approximately 18-19 percent of all domestic violence shelters are pet-friendly.


Community engagement has been a cornerstone of the project's success. In New Jersey, they partnered with 180 Turning Lives Around, a domestic violence shelter, and integrated them into the ShopRite Giving Program. "For the past two years, ShopRite has made donations to 180 Turning Lives Around, helping to enhance their pet-friendly facilities and support services," Leone shared.


Being present in the community, such as at ShopRite events, has allowed the Project to share its story and connect with people.


"These interactions have been profound," Leone said. These stories and testimonies only solidifies how important this project is its impact on real lives.”


The message Leone wants to convey to those who are scared to come forward is as follows "There are people who care about you and want to help. Reach out."


For those looking to get involved, make a donation, learn more about the project or to find help for themselves or a loved one, The Purple Leash Project can be accessed via the hashtag #PurpleLeashProject or at purpleleashproject.com.


Fans throughout the weekend at the ShopRite LPGA Classic supported the Purple Leash Project by wearing a special purple ribbon.  By wearing these purplepaw-printed ribbons, fans joined in the effort to support the foundation and will continue the conversation piece when they leave the grounds for days to come.


"Together, we can make a significant difference in the lives of domestic violence victims and their pets, ensuring they move from harm to safety," Leone said. “No one is alone in this fight.”


June 18, 2024
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