March 18, 2020
Dear Friends and Supporters,
In light of the current public health crisis, I want to share an update with you regarding our day to day operations.
As you know, the services we offer for domestic abuse victims and their families are essential to their safety. We are working hard each day to maintain these critically needed supports. Although we are not able to offer in-person counseling right now, our counselors are continuing to serve our existing clients with weekly phone counseling sessions. We have also set up a special counseling line for any new callers, as well as for our current clients who need additional support during this difficult time. Our Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART) members are working remotely when possible. However, we are continuing to have at least one DART team member available in the office each day. DART staff members and volunteers are still taking calls 24/7, and are continuing to provide safety planning, court accompaniment, PFA assistance, legal advocacy and other supports as needed.
While many people, including some of our staff members, can adjust their schedules, and/or can work remotely, many of our clients are not able to do this. This is a hard time for everyone, and it is especially hard for the domestic abuse victims we care so much about. With schools being closed, parents are forced to stay at home with their children, potentially jeopardizing their jobs and their independence from their abusers. Being quarantined with an abuser may increase the likelihood of abuse occurring in the home.
Our Hotline continues to operate 24/7, and serves as a lifeline for callers who are experiencing even more stress than usual. The Shelter is open and our Shelter staff members continue to serve the five families who are currently housed there. We are assisting new callers who are seeking shelter by connecting them to other resources, and/or providing hotel options. Safety planning continues to be an important service that we offer to each and every caller.
As we all know, many necessities are not currently available to purchase. Some of our clients rely on public assistance programs or have very limited incomes. Therefore, many of them were not able to stock up before the shortages began. Thankfully, due to the generosity of our supporters during this past holiday season, we have been able to distribute essential supplies, as well as gift cards to our community clients throughout the county to help make it easier for them to make ends meet.
The staff and board and volunteers of Laurel House are working hard to ensure that our clients have all of the support they need during this critical time. If you would like to help, please consider making a secure donation at www.laurel-house.org. You can also send gift cards to: Laurel House, PO Box 764, Norristown, PA 19404. The gift cards that are most needed right now include grocery stores, VISA/Master Card, Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon, Uber, Lyft, and WAWA .
We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone. Thank you for continuing to support Laurel House in any way that you can. Every bit helps in the lives of the domestic abuse victims we serve. Whether you are able to donate at this time, or not, please continue to keep Laurel House and the people we serve in your thoughts. We all need each other right now, and we are sending good wishes for you and your loved ones.
Beth Sturman, Executive Director