The phone was ringing when Allstate Insurance Company office manager Tanya Pavlu arrived at the 707 N.W. Missouri 7 office in Blue Springs early Thursday morning.

“It was a man, who told me his wife had just died and he was looking for a place to donate her clothes,” Pavlu said, softly. “He and his daughters didn’t really know what to do with all the clothes until they read your story in The Examiner.”

The Examiner ran a Page 1A story on agent Matt Connatser’s drive to collect clothing, food items and pet supplies that will be donated 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.

“When you were in our office yesterday, you could see we didn’t have a lot of donations,” Connatser said Thursday. “Well, talk about the power of the press.”

The insurance agency’s front office was overflowing with items ranging from casual and business clothing, jewelry and shoes to food items and pet supplies, as Rose Brooks offers shelter for victim’s pets.

“I mean, this is just amazing,” he said. “There was a time today when we had three or four people in the lobby waiting to drop off items.”

Pavlu nodded in agreement, and added, “Over the lunch hour, three or four ladies came in and we had a steady stream after that.”

Connatser stressed the importance of casual/business clothing because many abuse victims leave home with only the clothes they are wearing.

“It is so important to have some kind of business clothes and shoes to wear to job interviews,” he said, “and you should look in those sacks on the floor and see what people donated.

“There are so really nice clothes and things that will the abuse victims at Rose Brooks Center.”

“He paused for a moment and added, “This doesn’t surprise me at all. Once the people of Blue Springs found out about the needs at Rose Brooks, they wanted to help.”

While Allstate’s official collection drive ends today, Connatser added, “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.”