KILLEEN, TX — One Killeen nonprofit says they’ve seen an alarming spike in domestic violence cases. Their crisis line, outreach services and emergency shelter, all have hit record highs over the past few months.
The organization, already stretched thin due to COVID-19, is relying on community donations and volunteers. One volunteer took her service to this organization to the next level.
From her very first day as a volunteer at Families in Crisis, Tiffany Becker knew there was something special about this particular nonprofit. After only a few months of volunteering, she is now a full-time employee.
Becker says the organization needs her help now more than ever before.
“You really don’t know what people are going through until you come to somewhere like this where you can see what’s going on in other people's lives. You can see how a lot of people do need help but you would never know,” she said.
After overcoming childhood trauma of her own, Becker feels she was always called to serve others push through their own trauma.
“I wanted to help other people that went through similar things, went through different things. I just wanted to bring awareness that it is a big problem and a lot of people don’t really think about domestic violence or sexual abuse as a large problem," she said.
It’s a problem that's only getting worse. Since March, Director of Programing Suzanne Armour explains there has been a gradual increase in the need for all of the services they provide, especially on their crisis line.
“The calls have picked up,” said Becker.
“They’ve been steadily increasing since March, but in October we just had an explosion. They’ve been consistently high since March. We had a 20% increase in that in October, so we will definitely see over 5,000 calls this year," said Armour. “Their outreach services have increased by 200% and in October alone they had 80 new clients using their emergency shelter, using more than 200 shelter nights."
“We’re busier than ever, and of course with all this this means we're using more. We’re going through more food. We’re going through more supplies, and those are things that the grants generally do not cover,” Armour continued.
And that’s where you can help. Armour says their greatest needs are baby wipes, hygiene products and non-perishable food items. Even though everyone can’t commit to a full-time job after volunteering, Becker explains anything you can donate would be greatly appreciated.
“It’s a huge help. I mean, you’re changing people's lives. You’re helping people see the better version of themselves, and it really is a humbling feeling to really help someone who is in need and just spend your time doing good and helping others,” she added.
With the holidays coming up, Families in Crisis is also looking for toy donations for infants all the way up to the teens, to ensure those kids in their shelter do have something to open on Christmas morning.
Since volunteers aren’t able to gather in the shelter like they once were, Armour says some volunteers have been doing provisional drives on their own, collecting everything from coats, non-perishables, and toys.
If you would like to find out more information about what you can do to help, click here.