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Season of Wishes: Guardian Shelter offers abuse refuge

NATCHEZ — Though it may seem like basic items to the average resident, a few towels, bed sheets and canned goods can bring Christmas joy to women and children at the Guardian Shelter.

The Guardian Shelter serves women and children who from 11 counties in southwest Mississippi and some parishes in Louisiana have suffered from or are homeless because of domestic violence or sexual assault.

The shelter provides the women and children with all the necessities to live anywhere from 45 to 60 days until they can get back on their feet.

“The shelter is a home for these women and children while they are seeking safety,” Director Donna Miller said. “The more of those things we can get and have available to them allows us to make that home as comfortable for them as possible.”

The services provided include everyday items, clothing, personal items, meals, snacks, day care, transportation and a variety of different types of therapy and occupational assistance.

Miller said this year the shelter is in need of a variety of items including towels, wash clothes, single bed sheets, pots, pans and canned goods, such as tomato sauce, beans or vegetables.

“When the women and children move out of the shelter into new apartments or houses, we give them what they were using here,” Miller said. “We want to give them everything they need to get started in their own home.

“And sometimes that means we start running low for the new people coming in.”

The facility is open 24 hours a day and is capable of housing 27 people at one time.

Miller said there are currently eight shelter residents and 12 that participate in a supportive housing program the shelter offers after they leave the facility.

“The women who leave the shelter have the option of that program, which extends the services they got here,” Miller said. “It’s a secondary program that is beneficial to them if they want.”

And while donations are welcome year round, Miller said they are especially welcomed during the holiday season.

“It’s very important for us to provide these women and children with the assistance they need to feel at home, especially during Christmas time,” Miller said. “For them to feel like they can have a normal and safe holiday is certainly something we try to do every year.”

New or slightly used items can be dropped off at the shelter’s thrift shop at 624 Franklin St. or at the Catholic Charities building at 109 S. Union St.

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

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