Zonta steps up to help the shelter

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Erica Beighley, YWCA shelter director, eighth from left, accepts some contributions for the shelter from the Zonta Club of Kauai Thursday during the club’s monthly meeting at the Regency at Puakea in Puhi.

LIHUE — During the 16 days of activism in the “Zonta Says No to Violence Against Women” exercise, the Zonta Club of Kauai started a collection of needed goods and supplies for the YWCA Family Shelter, and presented a portion of the collection Thursday at the Regency at Puakea.

“The Zonta Club of Kauai has always partnered with the Kauai Economic Opportunity in helping women and families get started in their fight against homelessness,” said Zontan Edie Ignacio Neumiller. “We’ve expanded that service to help the YWCA of Kauai to raise awareness of the global pandemic of women’s rights violations.”

Erica Beighley, YWCA shelter director, starting that role in October, said the efforts of the Zonta Club of Kauai are appreciated.

“We would not be able to continue to do what we do, without the support of the community,” Beighley said.

She said since becoming shelter director, the house has been occupied the entire time. It has six rooms with a total of 17 beds, and it is rare when a room is empty. At one point, there were 31 clients in the house, with seven of those sleeping in the living room, on couches, or sleep pads on the floor.

“We may run out of beds, but we always manage to make it work if someone is in need,” she said.

During the last quarter, the shelter housed 46 clients, 23 of whom were children. They were housed for a total of 1,231 bed days, and food was provided for more than 3,500 meals.

“The YWCA of Kauai also staffs a crisis line at the shelter,” Beighley said. “This is often the initial contact for many of our clients that end up coming to stay at the shelter. During the past quarter, our advocates answered 180 crisis calls.”

The “Zonta Says No to Violence Against Women” contributions are in addition to the ongoing The Garden Island/Zonta Fund, which takes care of needy individuals and families during the holidays.

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