Helping Homes

By: Erin Tate
By: Erin Tate

A local program is helping abused and neglected children, and people like you are making it a success.

The Short Term Shelter Agency puts the kids in safe homes without demanding long term commitments from foster families. More than 13,000 children have been helped since it began in 1979.

Cathy Gilbert has three children of her own. But over the years she has taken four other children into her home. Some of them from abusive situations.

"You're just there to give them some hugs and support," said volunteer Cathy Gilbert. Make sure they have a good place to sleep."

Now, Gilbert is gearing up to open her home again. This time with the help of "volunteer emergency families for children."

"It certainly allows people an opportunity to get involved very directly with making a difference in the lives of kids who are in very sad situations and need a helping hand," said assistant director Patricia Spory.

Spory has sheltered more than 75 kids in the past two decades. Now she trains other families to do the same.

Annually, VEFC helps about six hundred children in Virginia, from newborns to teenagers. The program is very flexible. It works around the schedules of volunteers and is open to single or two parent families.

The maximum stay is three weeks, but the average is 5 to 6 days. Some stays are weekends only and give foster parents a break.

For more information, you can call Patricia Spory at (540) 636-9858 for more information.


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