07/20/04 — Duplin women's shelter receives insurance check

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Duplin women's shelter receives insurance check

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on July 20, 2004 1:56 PM

KENANSVILLE -- Duplin commissioners have agreed to give a $49,000 insurance check to the county's battered women's shelter.

Dee Beddingfield, director of Sarah's Refuge for battered women and children, told commissioners Monday it breaks her heart to have to turn away women who come to her for help. She said she had to turn away a woman and her four children that morning.

A fire heavily damaged the previous shelter in January, and news coverage of the fire made its location known. This made the building unusable as a shelter, even if it were possible to repair it, she said.

The pressing need continues to grow each day, said Ms. Beddingfield. The previous shelter housed 24 women and children. Now, an alternate shelter barely holds eight.

"This is the peak season for us," said Ms. Beddingfield, who expects to hear about the loan at any time now.

Sarah's Refuge will use the money to buy a house that is worth $80,000. The owner is offering it to the shelter for $60,000. The shelter raised $2,000 in donations from the community and has applied for a loan. Ms. Beddingfield said the owner has offered to accept payments if the loan is not approved.

The board voted that, with this $49,000 donation and a remaining $9,000 allocated in the budget for Sarah's Refuge, the county will end its obligation to continue providing financial support to the shelter.

The county has declared the burned building and the land it sits on as surplus property and advertised that it's for sale.

Commissioner Reginald Wells said it would cost more than the $49,000 donation if the county were to pay for renovation of the burned building.

The shelter has done an excellent job in the community, he said, but he said he wants to cut ties with Sarah's Refuge.

Magistrate Verna Taylor, a member of the shelter's board of directors, told commissioners several of the board members have decided to sign onto the loan application.

"I remember women coming into my office looking for help, and I had no place to send them. ... What you've done today is going to put us back on our feet. ... We appreciate everything you've done for us."