Letter to the Editor

Volunteers, supplies needed for shelter

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

To the Editor: I cannot find adequate words to express in my heart the appreciation and gratitude for all the people who have given their service, time, gifts and money for the displaced children in The Children's Shelter in Walnut Ridge.

The shelter opened June 1 and provided safety and comfort for 42 children during the month of June. Many people expressed surprise at the number of children who needed help. The children, from ages five weeks to 17 years old, came from Lawrence, Randolph, Sharp, Izard, Clay, Craighead, Jackson and Poinsett Counties.

Since the shelter is an emergency/temporary care facility, the children only stay until the most suitable placement is found for them.

The shelter staff works 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These great people have more than skills and experience; they have compassion and guidance that meets the needs for all ages of the children. Sometimes they don't have enough arms to hold and rock, enough hands to feed, or enough time for games.

Some volunteers come in to give children "one-on-one" attention. Many of these children are confused, scared and lonely. They need and enjoy the special attention. Volunteers are always welcome at any day or time.

Volunteers must be 19 years or older, have a high school diploma or the equivalent, and be under the direct supervision of regular staff; submit an application with references; submit to a Criminal Record Check and Child Maltreatment Central Registry Check information as required by law; pass a drug test; attend First Aid/CPR in-service training, and sign a confidentiality pledge.

A fee of $11 is required for the Central Registry Check. A check made out to The Children's Shelter should be attached to the application.

The shelter is a non-profit business that requires lots of needs. If you wish to donate any of these items, the needs at this time are:

Cleaners -- Bleach, laundry soap, fabric softener sheets, air fresheners, dish soap, Lysol, Magic Eraser.

Miscellaneous -- Batteries (all sizes), plastic eating utensils, trash bags (all sizes), plastic tote tubs.

Hygiene -- Shampoo, conditioner, tissues, baby wipes.

Paper products -- Paper towels, toilet paper, napkins, paper plates and cups, copy paper.

Monetary donations also are welcome.

The Children's Shelter, incorporated April 17, 2006, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization which relies on donations, grants and fundraisers. Donations can be sent directly to: The Children's Shelter Fund Account, First National Bank, P.O. Box 509, Walnut Ridge, AR 72476.

For more information concerning The Children's Shelter, please contact:

Amber Hampton, Administrator, The Children's Shelter, 107 Benson Drive, Walnut Ridge, AR 72456, cell 870-886-5191, or Judy Turnbull, President of the Board of Directors, at 870-886-6796 (home) or 870-809-1569.

Thank you and God bless you for caring!

Judy Turnbull

Walnut Ridge