Recession hits Interval House domestic violence shelters

Welcome to the Christmas season.

It’s the time when people celebrate the comforts of home, hearth and family.

It’s a time of feasting, decking halls and giving and receiving for many … but not for all.

Times are especially hard for certain segments of society. According to Carol Williams, executive director of Interval House, which shelters homeless victims of domestic violence, things are tough indeed.

Still, the non-profit program continues to work to find “room at the inn” for the mostly women and children who are homeless due to domestic violence.

Interval House was started more than 30 years ago in a Seal Beach garage. Since then, it’s blossomed into a nationally-recognized center of domestic abuse recovery.  More than 200 staff members advocates, and volunteers operate several facilities in and around Long Beach and West Orange County.

Interval House has been recognized with a presidential award and a California’s Governors award calling Interval House the model program serving victims of domestic violence in the nation.

“We like to thank all of our friends and supporters who have helped us over the years to serve those in crisis who come to  escape from abuse”, Williams Said. “Sadly, the holidays are our busiest time of the year. We are overwhelmed with the numbers of abused women and children who turn to us for safety, shelter and the promise of a brighter new year.”

During the economic recession, donations and grant funding have been decreasing over the past few years for many charities including Interval House.

According to Janine Limas, Interval House’s Community Education Director, this year’s funding and donations for families over the holidays are lower than the last few years.

“Not only are we packed and overloaded in our shelters and in our outreach programs, but the most wonderful women in the world who are just leaving Interval House are getting into their own apartments,” Williams said. “They are currently without kitchen supplies, refrigerators, furniture, and much more. They need help, and gift cards are the best help anyone could ever give them.”

In an effort to keep up its level of service, and make a brighter Christmas for people in crisis, Interval House has created a Holiday Wish List of the most needed items.

In an effort to keep up its level of service, Interval House and make a brighter Christmas for people in crisis, it has created a Holiday Wish List of the mostly intensely needed items at this time.

“Adopt A Family is where individuals can basically sponsor a family for Christmas,” Limas said. “We have asked our residents to fill out wish lists so that when individuals call and want to “adopt” or sponsor a family, they know what they want.”

Interval House is asking for donations of:

• Gift certificates for supermarkets.

They will allow families to buy the most basic necessities . In addition, donors can add the Interval House code (ID #49000127246 for Albertsons and NPO #82718 for Ralph’s club card and a percentage of their purchases will be donated to Interval House.

• Gift certificates for retailers and entertainment. It is difficult to find gifts for teens and woman. Gift certificates to department or retail stores such as Target, movie theaters or amusement parks can help make the holidays a happy time for Interval House residents.

• Used car, van or truck.  Transportation is one of the most essential needs for victims of domestic violence trying to stand on their own. These donations can be used as a tax deduction.

• Used cellular phones. Interval House can recycle old cell phones

• Special financial donations. These make the shelters able to purchase specifically required items. Checks should be made payable to Interval House.

Send  gifts to: Interval House “Special Holiday Gift” attention Janine Limas, outreach center, 6615 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Suite 170, Long Beach CA 90803.

“It’s very, very emotionally draining to see these families in need every single day,” Williams said. “And, it’s tough for our women and children, who really have nothing. We need this help badly.”

For more information on how to make donations or to adopt a family, call: (562) 594-9492.