Holidays Bring More Kids to Emergency Shelter

"Crime increases during the holidays and so parents have the tendency to be arrested more so," says Lisa Choate.

Choate is the Program Director for the Teen Emergency Shelter says that the holidays tend to be one of their busiest times each year.

She says, "Drug and substance abuse increases during the holidays so the effects of that whether that be neglect or allowing children to be sexually abused or even providing substances to your children themselves increases."

The shelter can hold about 34 kids at a time, ranging from toddlers to teenagers.  Choate says there have been times where they were filled to capacity.  "We've filled up before on the holidays.  We're usually running at about 75% for the holidays."

She says the holidays are a hard time for kids in the shelter being separated from family.

"They definitely miss being with their families.  We have people that put family members on Christmas lists, as far as all I want for Christmas is just to go home," says Choate.

That's why the shelter works hard to keep the kids busy with holiday activities to make what can be a hard time of the year a little happier.

"We try to keep busy.  We try to do crafts and hopefully go on outings," she says.

With the holidays bringing in so many kids to the shelter, donations are extremely important in helping the organization run smoothly.

"We need a lot of things that people need in their own homes.  We go through toilet paper like you would in your own home, detergent for the laundry and the dishwashers.  Things like that we constantly need during Christmas time as well as throughout the rest of the year," she explains.

Taelor Rian, Newschannel 6.