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Pee Dee Coalition receives grant from Mary Kay Foundation
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Pee Dee Coalition receives grant from Mary Kay Foundation

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FLORENCE, S.C. — The Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault has been selected for The Mary Kay Foundation’s 2020 Shelter Grant Program to receive a $20,000 grant to support local survivors of domestic violence across the Pee Dee region.

The coalition’s emergency shelter request was one of 50 — out of more than 800 applications nationwide — that was selected to receive an award from the $1.1 million Mary Kay Foundation’s 2020 Shelter Grant Program.  Announced in conjunction with Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the much-needed funding will provide direct assistance to shelters still reeling from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The coalition is honored to be a part of The Mary Kay Foundation’s efforts to reduce domestic violence, and is profoundly grateful for their support and for the good work of organizations nationwide that are serving the needs of victims in their own communities,” said Ellen Hamilton, executive director of the Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault.

The $20,000 grant will benefit the coalition’s Emergency Safe Shelter. In the Pee Dee Region, the Emergency Shelter is the only privately located, 24-hour-operated shelter for women and children who have been displaced due to family violence.

“Because of the support of the community and Mary Kay, we have been able to meet the needs of our women within the shelter,” said Carolyn Lynch, member of the coalition’s Shelter Advisory Council. “As a member of the Advisory Council, I have been able to witness first-hand the valuable work our shelter has been doing in the community.”

In light of the COVID-19 crisis, which is exacerbating women’s vulnerabilities and gender inequality and resulting in what has been described as a "shadow pandemic," this year’s grants are particularly important, she said.

Shelters across the country and the world have seen an alarming uptick in gender-based violence cases. Likewise, during the months of March and April, coinciding with the initial COVID-19 peak, calls to the coalition’s Emergency Safe Shelter nearly doubled, she said. Calls rose from a four-year average of 224 for the period to 427 calls during the same period this year. Fortunately, the shelter has been able to remain open throughout the entirety of the pandemic.

The foundation strives to fund the life-saving work of women’s shelters, and the annual shelter grant program has helped finance critical needs including emergency shelter, transitional housing, counseling and legal aid. These resources support women and children as they seek refuge and relief on their journey to an abuse-free life.

This year, more than 399,000 women and their families will receive domestic violence support services through the agencies selected to receive grants from The Mary Kay Foundation.

Pee Dee Coalition is a nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to the reduction of sexual assault, family violence, and child abuse and to the needs of its victims. If you or someone you know is in need of emergency shelter, please call the 24-hour crisis line at 843-669-4600 or toll free at 1-800-273-1820. If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.

Visit marykayfoundation.org for more information, and to view the complete list of 2020 shelter grant recipients.

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