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Shelter, still operating, in need of donations

The director of a local domestic violence shelter said their calls have increased during the coronavirus pandemic, and donations have dropped, but the shelter is still available to help people in need of assistance.

“We are getting more calls,” Director Marleisa Montgomery said. “Our donations are down, and all of our volunteer hours were cut. Then we have the children out of school, and we are still operating the shelter.”

Montgomery said some families have been placed in hotels, because there was not enough capacity at the shelter for everybody to be able to practice social distancing. The hotel costs were unaccounted for in the nonprofit’s annual budget, so additional donations will be needed to help the shelter make it through this time.

The shelter also needs donations of food and is trying to figure out a way to get children connected to their online educational tools.

Overall, though, she said she wants to let victims of domestic violence know they are still open and available to respond to calls, even in the midst of the pandemic.

Montgomery had these tips for people who may feel they are in harm’s way in their own homes:

  • The hotline number is 757-925-4365 or 1-800-969-4673. If it’s not safe to talk, text 757-705-2025.
  • If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
  • Be aware of triggers and tactics that might tell you violence is coming, but take care of yourself and your own emotional needs.
  • As often as is safe to do so, stay connected to family and friends through phone calls, video chats or by meeting outside in places where you can practice social distancing.
  • Meditate, use mindfulness apps, or find other ways to help you moderate your reactions.
  • Talk with kids and other family members about things you can do together that help them feel safe.
  • If you or someone else gets sick or injured, make medical staff aware of dangerous situations.
  • Delete call records and internet histories that show you are seeking help, use an internet phone service so calls aren’t on your phone bill, or use devices that aren’t monitored.
  • Be aware that if your partner has access to guns, has choked or strangled you, call for help.

To donate to the Genieve Shelter, visit thegenieveshelter.org or send a check to P.O. Box 1585, Suffolk, VA 23434.