“I hope Santa knows where to find me this year,” is a very real thought children in need have during the holidays. For the hundreds of children who call Interval House Crisis Shelters home during the holidays, heartbreaking worry and uncertainty overwhelm their hearts and minds during what should be the most joyful of times.
They and their mothers have been left homeless after escaping their own homes due to life-threatening violence. But for the clothes on their backs and the small bags that they were able to quickly fill up with bare essentials, they have come to Interval House with little to nothing.
Interval House has the largest number of beds for abused women and children in Orange County and Long Beach. During the holiday season, every bed is taken. Two-thirds of those beds are occupied by children and teens. “Many of our children see living at Interval House as a little vacation,” says Interval House Children’s Program Director Jodi Eddington. “We try our hardest to bring a sense of joy and normalcy to their lives, especially during the holidays. After the devastating abuse and trauma they’ve experienced, there’s no one who deserves it more.”
“It breaks your heart to see all of the young children playing in the Children’s Center or outside playing basketball – all not knowing where they’re going next,” she says. “But it’s also so inspiring to imagine the possibilities.”
Just ask Diana, who first came to Interval House at age 6 with her mother after her father nearly killed them with a knife in the driveway of their home. Today she is an accomplished leader and counselor at Interval House. Or ask Lorena, who first came to Interval House at age five and is today co-founder of Interval House’s Presidential-Award winning Teen Dating Violence Prevention Program.
There are many opportunities to help the women and children of Interval House this holiday season, including adopting a family or making a financial contribution. The most in-demand items are gift cards for grocery or retail stores such as Target and Walmart, which offer families a special opportunity to personally handpick the items they most need.
Donations may be sent to: Interval House Holiday Gift, Attn: Carol Williams, P.O. Box 3356, Seal Beach CA 90740. Or, you may stop by the Interval House office at 6615 E. Pacific Coast Hwy, Suite 170, Long Beach 90803. For more information, please call 562-594-9492.