AUGUSTA, GA. – All across the country domestic violence shelters are closing because they don’t have the funds to stay open. And families who are looking for safety have nowhere to go. The College of Education is partnering with SafeHomes of Augusta to provide for the daily needs of the residents of their shelter for domestic violence survivors.
“We have few resources in Augusta to meet this need, and we must keep open and thriving the shelters we do have, so we can keep victims and families safe,” said Dr. Meredith Rausch, professor of counseling, in the Department of Counselor Education, Leadership and Research.
Through Dec. 11, the College of Education will collect personal care items and new, unwrapped holiday gifts for children of all ages.
It’s an effort that SafeHome Development Director Jennifer Frantom called “critical.”
“So many times, clients come with just the clothes on their backs. We provide everything,” Frantom said.
And while SafeHomes of Augusta is state-certified, the domestic violence service agency is a home-grown organization that began in the late 70s with a group of women who took abuse victims into their own homes. So the organization began with personal involvement by those passionate about providing safety from domestic violence, and it continues to require that passion to provide desperately needed services to the community.
In addition to shelter, food and personal care, SafeHomes tries to offer some comforts of home to the children adjusting to their new lives, so holiday gifts are another way to help.
“The transition from home life to shelter life can be difficult for the children, so we want to provide a normal routine during the holidays, which is such a memorable time in children’s lives,” Rausch said.
Those interested in helping can donate according to the list of individual needs by age; can adopt a shelter family as part of their holiday gift-giving; or can donate a cash gift to Specs, the 501(c)(3) running the holiday drive. All proceeds go to SafeHomes of Augusta.
SafeHomes says it estimates hosting nine adult women and 14 children during December. The children’s ages are expected to include two 2-year-old girls; three 4-year-old boys; two 5-year-old girls and two 5-year-old boys; one 6-year-old girl; one 8-year-old girl and two 8-year-old boys; and one 13-year-old boy. However, the population of the shelter changes regularly, and it is difficult for the organization to predict its holiday residency.
Personal items the college is collecting for the residents include:
- Feminine Hygiene Products
- Paper Towels
- Toilet Paper
For more information on the donation drive, call 706-737-1437. For more information on SPECS, visit http://www.specspartners.org. For more information on SafeHomes of Augusta, visit http://www.safehomesdv.org.