Children’s shelters appeal for funding

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 17, 1999

Two area children’s shelters appealed to Adams County supervisors for funding at Monday’s meeting.

Gail Healy, executive administrator of the Sunshine Shelter on North Union Street in Natchez, asked supervisors for $15,000 to help offset expenses for the abused children’s shelter. The Sunshine Shelter cares for abused children up to age 12.

&uot;The Sunshine Shelter is a place for children to go until a suitable foster home is found,&uot; Healy said. &uot;We must intervene in a positive way when these children are young.&uot;

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The job of raising funds to meet the needs of the children is continual, said Healy. She has appealed to 14 counties that compose the region in which the Sunshine Shelter operates.

Major sources of funding for the shelter come from $300,000 in grant monies including $31,000 from the Presiding Bishop’s Fund in the Episcopal Church, $55 a day from the state and separate funding from the Victims of Crime Assistance fund.

&uot;We try very hard to be self-sustaining,&uot; Healy said.

Right now, efforts to raise funds through a gift shop downtown are failing. The shelter’s gift shop operated at the end of Main Street is losing $100 a month. Soon, the shelter will be forced to move the gift shop when convention center construction displaces them downtown.

Deborah Bradley, a counselor with the South Mississippi Children’s Center in Hattiesburg, approached supervisors for $2,400. Her shelter serves children ages 10-17.

This amount of money, Bradley said, is derived from a formula the shelter uses to gauge the use of the shelter by each county.

&uot;If every county that uses our shelter would contribute, it would be very helpful,&uot; Bradley said.

Of the 18 counties that use the Hattiesburg shelter, only eight have contributed to the facility in the past.

There are other children’s shelters closer to Natchez, Bradley said, but these shelters do not offer the same services that South Mississippi Children’s Center does.

&uot;Vicksburg is funded exclusively by Warren County and its United Way to provide service for Warren County,&uot; Bradley said. &uot;The Meridian and Coast shelters are for younger kids.&uot;

Virginia Salmon, president of the Adams County board of supervisors, said she appreciated the work that both shelters did.

Supervisors took both requests under advisement.