By Andra Bryan Stefanoni
Globe Staff Writer
PITTSBURG, Kan. —
Safehouse victim’s advocate Brooke Powell said an enormous pile of donations given by the employees of Via Christi Hospital couldn’t have come at a better time: the shelter for battered women and their children is at an all-time high of 23 individuals.
“We are so grateful for the support from the hospital and employees,” Powell said Thursday at a presentation at Via Christi led by Randy Cason, hospital president and CEO.
Nine of the 23 individuals are women. The rest are children — brought with their mothers who were fleeing abusive relationships and had no other place to go.
“We have a full house and are having to turn people away,” Powell said.
“The silver lining is that they realized they didn’t have to stay in an abusive situation, and that’s why they’re here.”
She said she believes the uptick in clients could be due in part to the sluggish economy.
“Maybe in the past, they would have stayed with family, but families are burdened, and perhaps they can’t help them now,” Powell said.
The supplies, which included toilet paper, trash bags, laundry detergent, paper towels and diapers, are staples Safehouse goes through in large numbers. The shelter is funded by state and local grants, and relies heavily on donations, Powell said.
The donations were the direct result of an effort by hospital employees, according to Cason.
“It’s employee-driven,” he said. “We have a mission committee who organized it, and they distributed lists of needed items to departments to determine who would bring what. It was a wonderful effort. People who utilize Safehouse come with nothing; this hopefully will give them at least something.”
The supplies were collected throughout October, which is national Domestic Violence Awareness Month.