Helping the Helpers: Teen Emergency Shelter needs donations to rebuild

Helping the Helpers

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/LKJTL) — Our Helping the Helpers series continues to highlight the needs of non-profits in our area after the pandemic caused a great setback for them.

This week, the Children’s Aid Society and Teen Shelter shows us how they could use your support.

Lisa Choate is the Program Director for the Children’s Aid Society’s Teen Emergency Shelter and said while COVID-19 has called for a lot of changes, not being there to protect their children was not the answer.

“Some places closed and kind of lived with that fear of the virus and we really couldn’t give in to that,” Choate said. “Our kids still need a safe place to stay and they still need people to care for them.”

In fact, like many non-profits that were somehow able to keep doors open, The Children’s Aid Society continued to be that place of refuge for at-risk children. However, Choate said they miss the interaction with the community.

“A lot of our community events got canceled and are slowly coming back but we miss that,” Choate said. “We miss making those connections with people who may need our services. We miss making connections with our donors. We miss seeing some of our volunteers [and] our MSU interns.”

Staff said since the beginning of the pandemic they’ve seen a 60 percent decrease in the number of donations they’ve received both monetary and in kind.

“We still think if you are cleaning out your closet, give us a thought as far as kids clothing, I would say juniors and below sizing and we always need new underwear,” Choates said. “Also financial donations, things that as we start to be able to do more take the kids to experience.”

Glenda Green who is the clothing shed organizer at the children’s home, and whose husband dedicated years of his life as Santa to make kids’ wishes come true, said they are always in need of volunteers.

“Anything they can do to help the kids here feels special instead of an oddity,” Green said. “We just need money and time to get back to normal, really.”

And as if COVID-19 didn’t already cause a setback, the teen shelter is currently closed because it flooded during the historic winter storm the area saw recently.

“Unfortunately that’s eight beds of ours for kids over the age of ten, that’s our runaway homeless program and our safe place program, so a lot of times those are our kids who have an immediate need who aren’t being served through other agencies in the community or through the state,” Choate said.

Those repairs alone are costing the agency more than $40,000 and it is for these reasons why they need community support.

It takes over a million dollars to run both the children’s home as well as the teen shelter annually and the organization sees more than 340 kids each year.

To donate to programs offered, follow this link.

For volunteer opportunities, follow this link.

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