August 05, 2009 Edition

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WR shelter exceeding expectations

Gretchen Hunt

Judy Turnbull, president of The Children's Shelter Board of Directors, recently reported on the status of the shelter and its fulfillment of its purpose.

"Since the shelter opened June 1, it has provided safety and comfort for 74 children from ages five weeks to 17 years," she said.

The children come not only from Lawrence County, but also from other counties in the area.

Thus far the shelter has served six children from Lawrence County, one from Clay, nine from Craighead, one from Faulkner, five from Greene, one from Jefferson, three from Marion, two from Mississippi, three from Poinsett and three from Randolph.

The shelter employs a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week staff to take care of the children's needs, but Turnbull said volunteers are always needed, as well.

"Sometimes they (the employees) don't have enough arms to hold and rock, enough hands to feed or enough time for games," she said. "They need and enjoy special attention, so volunteers are always welcome at any day or time."

Volunteers must be 19 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent and be under direct supervision of the regular staff. They must also pass a background check and drug test and attend First Aid/CPR in-service training.

Individuals can also support the shelter by making a donation. Some of the facility's current needs include: boxer shorts, T-shirts and ankle socks for boys ages 10 to 17; briefs, sports bras and ankle socks for girls ages 10 to 17; diapers, baby wipes, disposable latex gloves, school backpacks and one-inch binders.

Monetary donations can also be sent directly to The Children's Shelter Fund Account at First National Bank, P.O. Box 509, Walnut Ridge, AR 72476.

Turnbull said many have provided cleaning supplies and other items that have helped the shelter perform its needed tasks.

"We recently had a visit from the Health Department inspector and the State License director and both were pleased with the conditions and progress at the shelter," she said.

Anyone needing more information on the shelter can call Turnbull at 886-6796 or 870-809-1569 or Administrator Amber Hampton at the shelter at 886-5191.

Turnbull said that both the facility's ability to fulfill its purpose and the generosity of the community have exceeded expectations.

"Thank you and God bless you for caring," she said.

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