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Can you imagine leaving your family, your home and basically all of your belongings and starting your life from scratch?
Last week, I met a woman who has been forced to do just that. She is a victim of domestic violence. Or, rather, I should say she is a survivor.
Somehow, someway, she garnered up enough courage to pack up her three young boys and leave her abusive husband. They have taken refuge at The Caring Place in Lebanon, a domestic violence shelter for abused women and their children. When she first arrived at The Caring Place she was terrified her sons might rebel since they were forced to leave their home and all of their belongings, toys, videogames etc., behind. But, instead, the minute they arrived they fell in love with The Caring Place.
"All they felt was love," she said, her voice cracking and tears streaming down her face. "It's about love. If you ain't got love in a place, you ain't got nothing."
She said the employees at the shelter have treated her and her children like family, and they know they are safe.
"My kids can play in the back yard and I don't have to worry," she said.
Without The Caring Place, she's uncertain where she and her children would be. But, if the shelter doesn't receive some additional funding in the very near future, she will have to find another temporary home while she gets back on her feet and can take care of not only herself, but her three young boys. It's a scary reality for the women and children who currently call The Caring Place home, not to mention the shelter's director, Delena Trent, and seven other employees. According to Trent, the shelter, which opened in 1993, has never been in a financial crisis like this before. The Caring Place's annual budget is $186,000, and it's $100,000 short this year, she said. While the shelter does get financial support from Marion and surrounding counties, it doesn't receive any state or federal funding. And, because of the poor economy, private donations are down by 50 percent this year. So, the bottom line is, if the shelter doesn't receive some additional funding it will close next year, according to Trent.
After visiting the shelter for the first time last week and actually talking to women that are receiving assistance there, I can honestly say that it would be heartbreaking for The Caring Place to close. You see, before last week, The Caring Place was just a "place" to me. I had never been there before and, to be honest, I didn't even know exactly where it was located. For years, I have heard about The Caring Place, but I had no real sense of what they did there and who actually received help at the shelter.
Last week, I saw it with my very own eyes. And, as they say, seeing is believing.
I now have a new respect for the shelter, its staff and the work that they do. Talking with the women at the shelter had a profound impact on me that I honestly wasn't expecting. I have so much respect for the women I met who have found the courage and strength to leave their abuser and start their lives from scratch. I can't imagine how difficult and terrifying that must be, especially for a woman with children.
As I write this, I have a sticky note on my desk that says, "Donation to The Caring Place." I plan to make a donation, and I hope many other people in Marion and surrounding counties will do the same. As its director Delena Trent said herself, "People in Marion County are good people. If they know, they will help save the shelter."
Please, if you can, make a donation to The Caring Place today... it's definitely worth saving.
Send donations to:
The Caring Place
P.O. Box 945
Lebanon, Ky 40033
Or call (270) 692-9300.