On Thursday, May 26, 2016, 15 volunteers from the US Coast Guard, Marine Safety Unit in Port Arthur, Entergy, and other members of the community came together at the Family Services Women and Children’s Shelter for a big one-day project.

Family Services of Southeast Texas Women and Children’s Shelter serves as a safe haven for who are the victims of domestic violence.  In addition to emergency shelter Family Services offers a 24-hour hotline, crisis intervention services and provides supportive services for the residents, like legal advocacy and counseling.  Bonnie Loiodice is the shelter director.

The Marianella and Roy Permenter Charitable Trust, administered by Capital One granted over $18,000 to the shelter to replace the wooden beds in each room with metal beds. “Bed bugs are a constant problem here at the shelter,” say Mrs. Loiodice. “We can treat the bedding and mattresses when needed, but the large wooden bunk beds have been a problem. We hope that replacing the beds will help keep the shelter bug free.”

But, operating at or near capacity 24 hours a day and lack of storage space made the project a logistical challenge.  “Our community partners really stepped up for us today,” says Janet Walker, Executive Director.  15 volunteers along with Family Services staff disassembled and moved beds out while simultaneously moving in and assembling the new beds.  “The women and children that are staying with us are our top priority. Their lives are already in crisis when they get here. Our job is to make sure they stay as comfortable and stress free as possible so that they can focus on getting back on their feet and being safe permanently,” Loiodice adds.  “These volunteers were certainly up for that task today!”

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