The weather was cold and nasty as a light rain and strong wind made it uncomfortable to get around in midtown Blue Springs.

But it was warm and cozy inside the office of Matt Connatser Wednesday afternoon as he looked through a collection of clothing, food items and pet supplies that he will donate to the Rose Brooks Center, which helps victims of domestic violence.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Connatser’s office is part of a national Allstate Foundation Purple Purse effort that includes 50-plus Allstate agencies who collect items to help domestic violence victims.

“This is the second year we have partnered with the Rose Brooks Center, and it’s an effort that really strikes home with me because I have worked with someone who was a victim of domestic violence,” Connatser said.

“Five metro area agents are teaming together in this effort, and we’re hoping we can collect enough items to make a positive impact on the lives of the women who are there at Rose Brooks.”

One in four women will experience domestic violence and nearly 99 percent experience financial woes. A lack of financial resources is one of the major reasons victims stay in an abusive relationship.

“Many of the victims leave with the clothes on their back, and nothing else,” Connatser said.

“Can you imagine? That’s why these donations are so important.”

“This year, we’re hoping to get some used suits and blouses – dress items – that they can wear to job interviews. But we will gladly accept any items folks want to bring in.

“And we’re asking for donations of pet food, because Rose Brooks offers shelter for the victims’ pets. Another reason they stay in abusive relationship is because they don’t want to leave a pet – and if they leave, they have no place to stay and they don’t want to have a pet in that situation.”

Allstate’s collection drive ends Oct. 11, but Connatser said, “We’re open from 9-5 Monday through Saturday, and if you bring up an item, even if it’s past the official deadline, I promise you we will get it to Rose Brooks.”