SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The SAFE Shelter Center for Domestic Violence Services is facing a 15 percent reduction in funding because of COVID-19.
While funding has dropped since March, domestic violence calls have risen nearly 20 percent.
“This is probably one of the worst possible scenarios for a victim of domestic violence,” Executive Director of SAFE Shelter Cheryl Branch said.
Since 1979, SAFE Shelter has offered life-saving services and programs to victims of domestic violence and their children free of charge. But the cost to feed and shelter those victims can add up quickly.
“Throughout this pandemic, there have been continual domestic violence incidents here in Savannah and Chatham County. And that’ll continue. Unfortunately, that’s one constant,” SAFE Shelter Board of Directors President SPD Maj. Robert Gavin said.
Since the shelter had to cancel their annual giving gala, they are hosting a virtual event next month in hopes of raising funds needed to serve the growing number of domestic violence victims in the area.
“It’s a gamble, to be honest with you,” Branch said. “But this community has kept the doors open here for over 40 years, so that’s what I’m depending on. Whatever it brings in is going to be a blessing.”
Organizers suggest having small watch parties and will be coordinating special gourmet dinner packages through Cohen’s Retreat on Skidaway Road with a portion of the proceeds benefitting SAFE Shelter.
“It’s a win-win for everybody,” Gavin said. “You don’t have to get into a tux this year, you don’t have to go out. You can have it at your house, you can have a small watch party, and you can still give.”
The fundraiser will feature performances from The Fabulous Equinox Orchestra and offer firsthand accounts from survivors.
“They’re in the same position as so many nonprofits,” Fabulous Equinox Orchestra Band Leader Jeremy Davis said. “They’re not able to do without a fundraiser. And we’re just asking our fans to partner with us on this because it’s such a worthy cause and it’s coming at a really important time.”
SAFE Shelter Center for Domestic Violence Services is committed to preventing domestic violence, protecting victims, and promoting positive change for families in need.
SAFE Shelter operates a 48-bed emergency shelter for victims of intimate partner violence and their children. For more information on SAFE Shelter, visit safeshelter.org or call 912-629-0026. To reach the 24-hour crisis line, call 912-629-8888.