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Season of Wishes: Guardian Shelter needs supplies, TVs

LAUREN WOOD/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Guardian Shelter Office Manager Shirley Buckley talks to Director Donna Miller, right, as she goes through paperwork Thursday afternoon at the shelter, which helps victims of domestic abuse by giving women and their children a temporary place to live.

Editor’s note: This is the 12th in a multi-part series highlighting the needs of area non-profit agencies during the holiday season.

NATCHEZ — Although it came a few months late, the Guardian Shelter received a big Christmas present in March when it moved into its new facility.

That meant a new temporary home for women and children who have suffered from domestic violence to come and get their lives back on track.

This year, the shelter’s gift ideas are a bit more modest than a new facility, but plans are still in the works to provide the approximately 15 people living there a Merry Christmas.

“Natchez is very good to us around Christmas time,” Director Donna Miller said. “We have what they need for Christmas. We may not have everything they want, but we have what they need. We have good Christmases here.”

The Guardian Shelter serves women and children from 11 counties in southwest Mississippi and provides them with all the necessities to live anywhere from 45 to 60 days until they can get back on their feet.

“A lot of people come here with nothing and need everything to start a home,” Miller said. “They leave everything behind, so we try to provide them with everything they need.”

That includes everyday items, clothing, personal items, meals, snacks, day care, transportation and a variety of different types of therapy and occupational assistance.

“These women want to work,” Miller said. “They want a job and their own place to live.”

The Guardian Shelter has a staff of 13 people, and the facility is open 24 hours a day. Miller said the new facility is capable of housing 27 people at one time.

“This place is wonderful,” she said. “We couldn’t be any more proud to be here.”

Despite its new facility, the shelter still needs help, and Miller said monetary donations are always welcome.

But with Christmas around the corner there are some gift ideas that Miller said would bring smiles to the faces of the children at the shelter.

“It’s always nice for kids to get bikes for Christmas,” she said. “We have some here for them, but when they get ready to go they don’t have one. Bikes and roller skates keep them occupied and get them outside.”

TVs are always needed as well.

“We make an effort to have a TV in each person’s room, but it’s hard to maintain TVs sometimes,” Miller said.

Most importantly, the Guardian Shelter just needs items that make the families at the shelter feel like they are at home for a little while.

“Money is always nice,” Miller said. “We take anything really. We keep everything on hand. We are always grateful to get housing items and personal care items.”

Money can be donated to the Guardian Shelter by mailing it to P.O. Box 1225, Natchez, MS, 39121. To donate items, contact the shelter at 601-442-0142.