Local charity just now recovers from 2003 summer storm

Written by: Donna Davis

Springtime is a season of renewal. That's exactly what's happening at the Memphis Family Shelter. "To me, it's just a blessing to be able to come into a place like this." The shelter, which provides housing for women and children just re-opened. It was ravaged by the July 2003 windstorm. "Oh, it was just awful. It was severely damaged. The roof was torn off, the windows were blown out, and the siding was shredded. Debris was all over the place. It was pretty bad." said shelter director Donna Fortson. For the past seven months shelter officials have been putting the building back together, all while continuing their mission of helping women and their children move from homelessness to self sufficiency. Class teacher Barbara Blumenthal says, "The purpose is to help these mothers, who all love their children. Also, to help them get some skills to enable their children to do better in the world than they did." They do it through parenting classes, education, and job training. "It has helped me to provide a better and stable life for me and my son. It is really provided us with the skills that we need to be more successful once we get back into society." Women and children typically live here for more than a year. Once they leave; they are ready to make it in the world. However, a few do return to the shelter.