First Step To Holiday Help

First Step To Holiday Help

            First Step has been serving the Wichita Falls community and eleven other counties for almost 40 years.

            The holiday season is when the non-profit needs extra help supporting those who suffer from domestic violence, sexual abuse and child abuse.

With the increasing amount of victims during the months of November and January, holiday stress contributes to the rise in these numbers.   
            In order to service the rising number of victims, First Step needs support from the community to give these families the tools they need to become self-sufficient and empowered.
            During the holiday season First Step sees a 25% increase in calls to its crisis hotline, and the number of victims at the shelter nearly doubles.
             According to officials holiday stress and financial issues contribute to this rise, but Victoria Thompson the Volunteer Coordinator at First Step said victims come from all backgrounds, and domestic abuse can happen to any family.
      Thompson said many victims flee their homes to an emergency shelter with only the shirt on their back.
            “We supply everything. All their needs, like diapers, wipes and hygiene products,” said Thompson.
            With an increase in shelter occupants First Step needs as much help as it can get.

            “We really rely on the community support to donate items for the store, for the shelter, especially during the holiday season,” said Thompson.

            “The mothers that you see around the holidays they're just struggling to find what they are going to do for Christmas for their children, and nearly 45% of the clients we serve are children."

            One local company is doing what it can to help the twelve families staying at the shelter this Christmas.

            “If I was in that situation I wish there was someone who could help me too. I’m always willing to help someone who is willing to help themselves,” said Michael Hague of Longo Landscape.  

             You can help out too by donating at the First Step Thrift Store. All proceeds go to helping those in the shelter, and First Step is always looking for volunteers.

      This year First Step has serviced more than 1,000 victims by helping them get away from their violent situations, find employment, get counseling and even financial education classes.    

            According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence one in three women have been victims of some form of physical violence by and intimate partner in their lifetime.       
             If you or anyone you know is suffering from domestic violence,  call the First Step Crisis Hotline at 1800-658-2683 or visit their website.

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