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Simple angel tree items help provide freedom from abuse

Laurens, South Carolina – While Christmas angel trees are typically for the purpose of providing gifts for children during the holidays, an angel tree located in the window of the Safe Home’s thrift store, Our Little Shop, includes gift requests for those who are escaping abuse.
There are some cases when victims are able to return home, said Safe Home director Dawn Ardelt, but often clients need to relocate away from the abuser and that’s where Our Little Shop’s Angel Tree comes in.
“Starting over in a new location is expensive, and so we put together starter packages for current clients who will soon be going to new homes free of violence,” Ardelt said. “They include things you always need, like simple spices, brooms and cleaning supplies and many other household items you need when you’re starting a new home.”
Items can be delivered back to the store anytime until Christmas, and even following the holiday since these baskets of items are compiled for clients throughout the entire year.
Since it opened many years ago at 1500 Western Square Dr., near the former BI-LO in Laurens, Our Little Shop has been providing needed funds for ongoing services for clients whether or not they spend time living in the shelter. Staff help clients from Laurens, Abbeville and Saluda counties navigate the legal system to best provide protection for themselves and their children.
In addition to continued client care, the Laurens County Safe Home is seeking donations to cover continue services and the agency’s capital campaign.
“We’re more than half way through covering the cost of the renovation and addition, so we are channeling donations that direction as much as possible,” Ardelt said.
The addition to the Safe Home’s shelter for abused women began following a fire, but the pandemic also accentuated the need for more space so that sheltered families could each have their own separate rooms, which had sometimes not been possible before. Furniture is arriving next week, so Ardelt said they hope to move back into the office and shelter spaces very soon.
Last weekend Cooper Motor Company’s owner Chip Cooper surprised the agency with a gift of more than $8,500, which included proceeds from the large classic car show held there in Clinton in celebration of the family business’ 85th anniversary.
“We think a lot of what they do,” Cooper said. “It’s unfortunate we have to have that here but what the Safe Home staff do is tremendous.”
Cooper donated $8,525 to the Safe Home of Laurens County, with the initial $8,500 representing the 85 years since the Cooper family first began the business in Clinton. Then an additional $825 was raised through entry fees and donations from the car show, he said.
Supporting other small businesses and the county’s service agencies is important, Cooper said.
“As businesses we all need to support each other,” Cooper said. “If we support each other locally, then we can better support our nonprofits.”
In addition to needs met through purchases and donations at Our Little Shop, donations can be made online at thesafehome.org or by sending a check to PO Box 744, Clinton, SC 29325.
Anyone with need of Safe Home services can contact staff by calling 864-682-7270.

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