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Season of Wishes: Guardian Shelter protects domestic abuse victims

 

NATCHEZ — Women and children escaping domestic abuse often do not have time to pack.

Guardian Shelter Program Director Courtney Hicks said these battered families are often leaving on a moment’s decision with just what they are wearing.

Hicks said for some of the women, it has taken years for them to get the courage to be able to make the move.

“Can you imagine how frightening and overwhelming that is?” Hicks said. “For us to be able to bring them in where they feel safe while they make that new start, is wonderful. There is such a great need in the community.”

With that in mind, Hicks said if you can imagine what it is like shopping for a family, the shelter needs it. Items include clothing, including for children up to age 18, infant formula, medications and hygiene items.

“Anything you might buy for yourself when you go to Walmart or a grocery store, we need,” she said.

Hicks said the shelter does have a kitchen and a cook, as well, so food and snack items could be donated.

“She cooks three meals a day and provides snacks,” Hicks said.

With several of the shelter’s grants having cut funding, Hicks said fundraising is what the shelter needs the most right now.

“Any ideas you might have for fundraising would be welcome,” Hicks said. “Or if anyone is looking for something they may want to take on as a charity, they can make a financial donation. We are a non-profit and it is something you can write off on your taxes.”

Hicks said the shelter serves battered families and they have 28 beds. Hicks said families generally stay 45 to 60 days as shelter staff helps them get back on their feet.

The shelter provides transportation, advocacy for any legal issues families might have going on, as well as job assistance.

“Our staff helps them work on their resume and takes them to the WIN Job Center,” Hicks said. “We also have a childcare center. While the ladies are trying to gain independence, go back to work and find housing, we are able to keep the children in daycare for them.”

Donations can be dropped off at the Guardian Shelter’s thrift store, Guardian Collection, at 624 Franklin St.

“Everything designated specifically for the shelter, we bring it to them,” Hicks said. “Everything donated for the ladies, they get.”

If you wish to contribute financially, checks can be sent to P.O. Box 1225, Natchez, MS, 39121.

For those who want to help the shelter with fundraising efforts, contact Hicks at 601-442-0142.

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