October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and Gaston Alive! is honored to feature an individual in our community’s hard work and dedication to such a worthy cause. Since it was started, the Gaston County Women’s shelter has housed more than 8,000 women and their children. Shelter coordinator Cathy Cloninger was instrumental in getting donors to contribute more than $600,000 to pay for the building expansion. If you know Cathy, you know her commitment and passion for helping these women and children in need.
April marked 32 years for The Shelter of Gaston County. An expansion completed more than two years ago meant enough space to accommodate ten additional women and children. Women seeking help can call a 24-hour crisis line and speak with staff members to determine what can be offered. Some show up with nothing but the clothes on their backs and from there, Cathy and her staff work to accommodate needs — everything from food to pajamas.
The shelter is an emergency relief facility for women and families who are in imminent danger. During their stay, case managers help the women find safe places to live and jobs if they’re unemployed. “When they come, many don’t want to leave,” Cloninger said. “We want them to survive, live independently, and experience abuse-free living.” When women leave to either return to their homes or move elsewhere, she can see the impact the shelter has made in their lives.
Cathy, thank you for your work in Gaston County and for the countless hours of time and energy you put into this much-needed place in our community. Please join us in saying keep up the Goode work and thank you for allowing us to showcase you as October’s Publisher’s Pick! Any way you can support or contribute to The Shelter of Gaston County is greatly appreciated.
Are you in an abusive relationship? Do you need help? Call The Shelter of Gaston County, a battered women’s residence and resource center, at the 24-hour crisis line at 704-852-6000.