Etcetera - 02/06/12

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The STEP Women's Shelter through Helpline has made connections on YouTube to reach a larger audience. The 1-minute 41-second spot informs viewers about the program and its impact on area women. A "project from the heart," the video was professionally produced by CMBell Company, which uses music as it gives statistics and other details.

With funding as tight as it is these days from state and county budget cuts, Step is $50,000 short for 2012, almost half its $104,000 budget. The program needs donations to aid women who may suffer from abuse, mental health issues, addictions or unemployment.

"Twenty-five women in Walla Walla will be homeless, maybe more. These women come from all kinds of backgrounds. ... But all of them have one thing in common. They have nowhere to turn.

Through the emergency shelter they can get up to 90 days of free temporary shelter, a safe night's sleep, food and referrals. "Together we can help them create an action plan to lift them out of homelessness. We're not their final destination. But we hope to be the start of a journey to independence, dignity, self-respect."

Last year, the shelter gave 110 women a new start. The YouTube video said "STEP is the only women's shelter in Walla Walla that's exclusively for women who are homeless for any reason. You can help. Give a day's shelter, for just $15."

Donations of $15 provide for one person a day, $105 for a week and $450 for a month. Watch the presentation at YouTube at tinyurl.com/6nbuvb4 or contact Helpline at 509-529-3377 or www.helplineww.org for further information.

In addition, Helpline, an agency established in 1973 to connect the community with emergency social services, recently bought its first pallet of toilet paper. That's 2,400 rolls, which will be used in its hygiene program and at the STEP Women's Shelter. The bounty was also shared with Christian Aid Center, Salvation Army, YWCA, Pantry Shelf and St. Vincent de Paul. Snyder-Crecelius Paper co. gave them special pricing to purchase in bulk.

In their newsletter, they not it was the result of a great response to Walla Wallan Sarita McCaw's plea for funds. "We are now seeking funds for our second pallet (which costs $1,291). Donations may be made to helpline or contact Sarita at 525-3349 or saritamccaw@bmi.net.

And for folks who plan ahead, the popular annual SoupPort benefit luncheon will be April 18. Tickets are available at Helpline, 16 S. Colville St., 529-3377, or Earthlight Books, 321 E. Main St.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

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