03/11/04 — Sarah's refuge needs financial help

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Sarah's refuge needs financial help

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 11, 2004 2:02 PM

The board of a refuge for battered women and children is looking for ways to pay the rent at a new shelter and repair the burned one for administrative offices and a thrift shop.

A fire damaged the Sarah's Refuge shelter in January. The women were moved to a temporary shelter.

Duplin County owns the building that was burned, and the shelter rents it for $1 a year. The insurance company check has arrived, and the county is seeking bids for the repair work.

Commissioner Reginald Wells said during a county commissioners meeting Monday that the security at the old shelter has been compromised. "Everybody knows where it is now," he said.

The commissioners agreed to let the organization use the old building for administration and a thrift store as long as it doesn't conflict with Warsaw's zoning ordinance.

The refuge board of directors decided Wednesday night to pursue using the old shelter as the administrative offices upstairs and the thrift store downstairs.

Money from the thrift store is used to pay ongoing costs at the shelter.

Board President Sandra Torrans said it's going to take six to nine months to get the burned building ready to use again. Ms. Torrans was abused by her first husband verbally and emotionally -- at first. "When I left, he tried to kill me three times," she said.

Shelter Director Dee Beddingfield said she will present another request by the March 17 deadline.

The new shelter is smaller than she's used to, "but we're thankful for it," said Ms. Beddingfield, who survived childhood abuse, molestation and rape. She was also abused by her first husband.

Board Secretary Verna Taylor and Treasurer Perrie Peace were among the founders of the refuge 10 years ago and remember how it was before the shelter came.

"I have had women come into my office ... with blood dropping out of their mouths onto the babies on their laps, and I had no place to send them," said Ms. Taylor, a Duplin County magistrate. "Now we've got a good program, and I hope it continues."