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Donors respond to Turning Point need

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Donors in Bartholomew County and beyond have given more than $5,000 in food, gift cards and cash to help nonprofit Turning Point Domestic Violence Services feed an unusually large number of children and teens with families at its shelter.

Those gifts, which may be enough to feed residents for the rest of the year, arrived just over 24 hours after agency President Lisa Shafran asked the public for help in a story in Monday’s Republic.

“I literally tear up thinking about how generous people are to those less fortunate,” Shafran said.

A check for $1,500 arrived from the women’s Madison Correctional Facility when its offenders heard of the need. Some donated their own money. Other cash came from the facility’s store profits often shared with charities, spokeswoman Hope Greathouse said.

“For a lot of our offenders — people who feel they have taken from others because of problems such as drugs — this becomes their way to give back to people,” Greathouse said.

The shelter, a United Way of Bartholomew County agency, has been buying food with operational funds that normally would go to other costs, Shafran said. Trims or adjustments in the shelter’s other budget categories will be made later, she said.

Turning Point, which has helped families for nearly 40 years, served 899 families last year in Bartholomew, Brown, Decatur, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Johnson and Shelby counties. That included 4,757 nights of shelter.

Besides the shelter, free services include a crisis phone line, legal help and education about healthy relationships, plus other offerings.

By year’s end, Shafran expects the shelter’s food expense to be double 2013’s cost, exceeding last year’s total by as much as $1,500. So far this year, the agency is 22 percent over its food budget.

“We knew we would get a response,” Shafran said. “But I don’t think we expected such an outpouring. We cannot thank everyone enough for coming to our rescue. Everyone should know that every dollar and every food donation will be used to support and change the lives of victims of domestic violence and their children.”

Besides the Madison Correctional Facility donation, Shafran said donations came from businesses, churches, farmers and other individuals. Schools and service groups also have called and inquired about ways to help.

Shafran is considering asking her board to think about partnering with churches and other organizations on a monthly basis to avert such budgetary obstacles in the future. She said such a plan becomes especially important because leaders helping domestic violence victims cannot reliably predict the ebb and flow of need during a year.

Any funds that arrive in coming days can be used for other client expenses, according to Shafran. That includes apartment security deposits, first month’s rent, travel to safe locations with family or friends, cleaning supplies, towels, sheets and other needs.

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