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Friday, July 15, 2011

Shelter Given Help After Sewer Damage

A Rock Hill sexual and domestic violence crisis center is finding comfort in an outpouring of community support after wastewater from a backed-up sewer line damaged the shelter.

"I can hardly return all the phone calls," said Jane Alleva, interim executive director of Safe Passage.

A building that houses office space and supplies was severely damaged last week when a city of Rock Hill sewage line backed up and flooded the bottom floor. Stores of supplies were destroyed, and so were rooms where children could play and clients could share their stories in confidentiality.

The Herald reported on the damage Thursday. That day, the calls started coming in, Alleva said.

The callers want to set up drives for supplies. Someone wants to donate backpacks and school supplies for children; another individual wants to give office furniture. A local moving company has offered to pick up donations and create a storage area for them.

But right now, the most useful donations are gift cards and cash, because there's no place to store donated items.

As clients arrive at the center, employees can assess their immediate needs and address them. Often that means buying them clothing, baby supplies or personal hygiene products. Most victims leave their homes with very little, sometimes just the clothes they're wearing or what they're able to grab quickly, Alleva said.

"Wednesday, I felt like I was drowning," Alleva said. "Today it's challenging, but there are so many people out there willing to help us. And that's a good start."

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