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Local shelter at full capacity, in need of help

Colleton’s only homeless shelter is currently at full capacity, and the shelter’s managers are asking the public to help them by donating some much-needed supplies.

The shelter is currently full, holding 19 individuals. Ten of those people are children, with the ages ranging from a newborn to a 10-year-old child. The other nine people are adults.

According to shelter Manager Anna Thomas, the majority of those children are currently participating in a summer day camp that focuses on reading. The camp is provided by the Colleton County School District. It is paid for with federal Title One funding, which focuses on areas with a large poverty base.

This camp is the primary activity for the children who are living in the shelter.

“It would be absolutely awesome to give them a snack, a bag of chips or a Gatorade or water when they get back from that day camp in the afternoons,” she said.

“We’ve had some donations that are helping with the newborn’s needs, but we have a lot that we need right now.”

Thomas is asking the public to provide the shelter with snacks for the children, along with Gatorades, juice or bottles of water. The shelter is also in “desperate need,” she said, of laundry detergent, bleach, fabric softener, and cleaning supplies.

“I cannot tell how much we need those cleaning supplies,” she said. The shelter depends solely on donations from people and from churches and organizations. The daily operational costs of the shelter are funded through the county and from some state funds and grants.

“We would also like to be able to give the kids a hot dog or hamburger night, but we need the items to do that,” said Thomas.

The shelter houses women, children and families. This means that men who are married – and who can provide a marriage certificate as proof – can stay with their wife, child/children and family inside the shelter. No single men are allowed, according to shelter policy.

The shelter houses people who are homeless, mostly because they are from fleeing an abusive situation or domestic violence, said Thomas, in a previous interview with this newspaper. The goal of the shelter is to be a temporary home. Adults who are living in the shelter are taught a job skill and are helped to gain employment. They are also helped to get into an apartment. “We want them to be able to start over, safely and better than when they came to us,” she said.

Anyone wanting to donate any items to the shelter should take the supplies to the Lowcountry Community Action Agency office, which is located at 319 E. Washington Street in Walterboro. The LCAA is a non-profit that oversees the shelter. Individuals or groups who want to help the shelter this summer can also reach Thomas at 843-599-9270.