For the past 26 years, Reynolds Home in El Paso has provided a safe refuge for women and their families who are homeless or escaping physical abuse. Most of that time, the shelter survived on volunteer work from a caring community to keep the doors open.
With the need for their services increasing, contributions from the private sector, including $1,825 from the Sundt Foundation, enabled Reynolds Home to hire staff and double the size of the shelter.
“The cost of running a shelter is high,” said Reynolds Home Director Dorothy Truax. “We’re always looking for options. It’s very limited. We need a lot of support from all over.”
The facility is busy, with 13 to 16 moms and up to 35 children staying there an average of four to six months. Reynolds Home is one of three similar shelters in El Paso. Dorothy said roughly half the families who enter Reynolds are escaping domestic violence. El Paso is among the top five counties in Texas for most domestic violence deaths.
Reynolds staff members, called Family Workers, go beyond providing shelter and meals for the families. They take women who often have very little education or work experience and help them find jobs and homes.
“When they come in, many women feel like they can’t make it on their own,” Dorothy said. “They prove they can take care of themselves and their kids.”
It takes a team effort to help these women and their families regain their independence. Family Workers get to see inspirational stories firsthand as women and their families go from frightened and unsure to confident and independent.
“The change from when a mom first comes in to when she leaves is tremendous,” Dorothy said. “Regaining belief in herself is just part of it. We have moms who come back to visit 20 years after staying here.”
This is the third in a series of stories about non-profit organizations that were supported by the Sundt Foundation in 2016. The articles will appear on our blog on Tuesdays through May 23.
April 11: Project Healing Waters
April 18: Restore Education