WILSON’S LOCAL PRINT AND DIGITAL COMMUNITY INSTITUTION SINCE 1896

Shelter fundraiser ‘a fun night for a great cause’

Tickets on sale for ‘In It to Win It’ social

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For nearly four decades, the Wesley Shelter has provided help for those who need it most. And the agency wouldn’t be able to do so without the community’s support.

Next month, the shelter will hold its annual fundraiser —” In It to Win It.” The event, hosted by Pup’s Steakhouse, will be held at the restaurant from 6:30 to 11 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21. Music will be provided by North Tower band. Guests will have a chance to win several prizes including jewelry from Vaughan’s Jewelers, a birdhouse from Ricky Hester and a grand prize for a trip for two to New York City or $1,500 in travel. Participants have to be present to win.

Tickets are $50 and include heavy hors d’oeuvres.

“We are celebrating 36 years,” said Lynne White, the Wesley Shelter’s executive director. “It’s a fun night for a great cause.”

The goal of this year’s fundraiser is to help with agency’s safe house repairs and upgrades. White said while clients have moved into the safe house’s new space, the old space will be converted to a handicapped-accessible bedroom downstairs. She said the space is needed due to the increase in clients who have a disability or injury as well as those who are older.

“This is the last section that hasn’t been upgraded through other projects,” White said. “We’ve seen an increase in need of space on the first-floor level.”

The Wesley Shelter, the domestic and sexual violence response agency for Wilson County, serves on average 1,500 women, children and men each year through a variety of services.

Organizers said last year’s “In It to Win It” fundraiser was a huge success and officials hope the Wilson community will make this year just as successful.

“Each year we have great participation through sponsors and ticket sales,” White said. Bridgestone is the presenting sponsor for this year’s event.

The fundraiser will also help with unexpected expenses for the agency, such as building maintenance.

“Having the flexibility to address those needs is critical,” White said.

THE NEED IS GREAT

The Wesley Shelter started out as a small outreach through First United Methodist Church as a battered women’s shelter. The nonprofit organization and United Way agency has grown by leaps and bounds throughout the years.

The agency takes a holistic approach for victims, offering an array of critical programs including legal services, health, education, counseling, job training and placement assistance as well as shelter, food and clothing needs.

Staffers work hard each day to empower victims to live a life free of violence.

“The request for services continues to be great,” White said.

Last year, the Wesley Shelter served 146 women and children for 3,117 nights at its safe house due to domestic or sexual violence or homelessness. The agency also served 9,300 meals. While some clients stay a few days, others stay for several weeks.

While the agency has seen victims of human trafficking before, White said Wesley Shelter staff are seeing an increase. She said they’ve had at least three victims recently who came to Wilson for work, but the work expectation was sexual in nature and not legitimate employment.

“They came to us,” she said.

GENEROSITY AND SUPPORT

White said the Wilson community is always generous in supporting the important work that agencies here do.

“We see that level of generosity and support every single day at the Wesley Shelter, White said. “We couldn’t do all that we are able to do without that support. Our services are comprehensive in addressing all the needs our clients have.”

BY THE NUMBERS

Wesley Shelter statistics for fiscal year 2017-18 include:

• 924 women, children and male victims of domestic and sexual violence were helped with court advocacy, temporary restraining orders, protective orders, safety planning and support through the civil/legal systems

• 85 women consulted with its nurse/health educator

• 110 families received 1,784 legal services through the agency’s attorney, including consultation, representation and child custody assistance

• 53 current and past victims of sexual violence received crisis response, advocacy, support and counseling

• 100 clients received 325 counseling sessions from the agency’s licensed clinical social worker

• 830 people received clothing, food, baby supplies, school supplies, furniture or home start-up kits

• 120 women, men and children were given a bountiful Christmas

• 686 transportation trips were provided to court, appointments, housing/job searches, school or work

• 234 child care services were provided while mothers were in class, attending appointments or looking for work

• 89 support groups for domestic violence, sexual assault or parenting were offered

• 65 children’s group activities were well attended, combining education with fun

• 76 women participated in classes including life and job skills training, English as a second language, budgeting, money management, parenting, self-esteem, health and nutrition and job searches

• 2,085 referrals were made to community resources

• 335 Hispanic women, children and men were served through the shelter’s Spanish Outreach Mission, including advocacy, interpreting services, support groups, T-visas, U-visas and classes

• 1,200 interpretation services were provided by bilingual staff

• 187 individuals donated 12,000 hours of volunteer service to the various programs and projects, including after-hours response for domestic/sexual violence, The Clothes Line thrift store and BB&T Lighthouse Project

• 198 educational presentations and 26 professional trainings occurred in the community and 139 toured the agency

• Hundreds continue to donate to The Clothes Line, whose sales help fund vital programs at the agency

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