12/10/04 — Help needed for Sara's Reguge battered-women's shelter

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Help needed for Sara's Reguge battered-women's shelter

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on December 10, 2004 1:59 PM

WARSAW -- Sara's Refuge battered-women's shelter is holding an open house event next week, where the public can pick an "angel."

The angels are cards on the Christmas tree at the shelter with information about mothers in need. You can pick a card and then return gifts for the mother and her children.

The tree will be in place during the open house from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Wednesday at the new office at 222 W. Hill St. in Warsaw. The Angel Tree donation drive will go through Dec. 17.

People can also call Lillie Brown, the community educator at the Sarah's Refuge office, at 910-293-3467 to adopt a child or a family by telephone.

Ms. Brown said there are 100 cards on this year's Angel Tree. The cards represent mothers as well as children.

"The parents aren't asking for anything, but they need as well," she said. "One mother said all she wants for Christmas is a place for her and her children to be."

Some of the parents on the cards are women who are still in the shelter. Some need help making the transition to independent living.

"One family -- the woman has three kids -- left with nothing but the clothes on their backs," said Ms. Brown. "She just moved into her own place and is starting over. She needs household items, everything."

Another woman is living on disability. She, too, has three children.

When the families leave with nothing but the clothes on their backs, the children sacrifice their toys for the safety of their mothers, said Dee Beddingfield, the executive director of Sarah's Refuge.

The shelter has had the Angel Tree for 11 years now, ever since the shelter opened.

"It means a lot when people do things for the women and children," she said.

Maranatha Church in Beulaville gives gift bags to the new clients, and a boys' group home in Rose Hill has donated money to the shelter many times, said Ms. Beddingfield.

She said much support also comes from businesses, too, like Carolina Turkeys and Mt. Olive Pickle Co. "We can't do what we do without the support of the community."

Along with the angel project, the shelter's staff and volunteers are unpacking boxes and organizing clothing and other items to open a thrift shop at the new office. The thrift store will make the items available to the public as well as to the clients. Ms. Beddingfield expects the grand opening to be in January.