Two agencies that help people in tough and sometimes life-threatening situations are taking steps to both serve and protect during this time of crisis.
New Hope of McDowell, the nonprofit domestic violence and sexual assault agency, that will remain open during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jennifer Beary, executive director and Kiersten Proctor, the outreach coordinator for New Hope of McDowell, said in the past they have seen increases in violence and abuse during natural disasters, holidays and economic crisis. Any circumstance where families are forced to spend more time together, abusive situations tend to get worse, as there is little to no relief from the abuser.
While New Hope of McDowell remains open it is currently limiting as much person to person contact as they can by using their 24-hour crisis hotline (828-652-6150), having their advocates work remotely when possible, and having their court advocate working directly from the court house to assist clients with filing a domestic violence protective order. This helps prevent the risk of exposure or spread of the virus to their sheltered clients. They continue to monitor the CDC recommendations as they move forward.
New Hope of McDowell is a nonprofit organization that fully relies on grant funding and community support.
Last year they provided safe shelter to an estimated 45 women and 35 children, answered about 650 crisis calls in regards to domestic violence and sexual assault, assisted around 350 individuals with filing a domestic violence protective order and provided over 100 clothing vouchers to their thrift store, Fabulous Finds, to women and men in need.
When someone reaches out to them for help, their first step is to thoroughly assess the victim’s situation. After gathering all the information they need, they can determine the best way to help the individual.
New Hope offers emergency shelter to domestic violence victims in immediate danger, assistance filing DVPO’s, case management, court advocacy, support groups, safety planning, clothing vouchers, crisis counseling and a 24-hour crisis hotline at 828-652-6150. They will also offer assistance through text 8 a.m. — 4 p.m. at 828-450-6767.
They are currently in need of canned food, cleaning supplies, lysol spray, Clorox wipes, hand soap, trash bags, toilet paper, paper towels, gloves.
Another local organization that helps locally in times of crisis is McDowell Mission Ministries, which operates two homeless shelters. They are funded primarily by local churches. But since churches have stopped having services because of the virus outbreak risk, their usual donations have dropped significantly.
McDowell Mission Ministries hosts 43 women and children at their Friendship Home and 21 men at their John Thompson Center. Both centers are now under complete quarantine.
Sabra Rock, executive director, said they have placed this quarantine in an effort to prevent the coronavirus from entering the shelters and affecting the residents and staff.
Currently none of the residents have the virus that they are aware of. They are taking precautions and are cleaning and disinfecting their facilities. They are in need of supplies and any donation can be made at the Friendship Home at 124 Fleming Avenue. Donations can be brought to the door and someone will take them.
Currently they have need of hand sanitizer, cleaning solutions, tissues, toilet Paper, laundry detergent , female hygiene products, shampoo/conditioner, towels, wash cloths, blankets and pillows
They are a 501 C-3 nonprofit organization and will give tax receipts for any donation.