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Thursday, October 14, 1999



Women’s shelter has
crucial need for a van

Child & Family Services' van,
a chariot to safety for the
abused, died in June

By Lori Tighe
Star-Bulletin

Tapa

The van had dents of its own and leaked in the rain.

But it rescued thousands of abused women and frightened children throughout Oahu since the early '90s, driving them away from batterers to a safe shelter.

Then the van died in June, and no one has stepped forward to donate a new one.

"We've gone to dinners and to the public. They say, 'What do you need?' I need a van. I really need a van," said Ann Banglos, manager for Child & Family Service's Leeward shelter.

One car dealer said he would take $3,000 off the price of a van, Banglos said. But still the shelter can't come up with the $25,000 needed with the discount.

"Without the van I'd be stranded," said Jolynn, a 33-year-old mother of four children. The van helped her move her things out of her house and start a new life.

She said she recently filed for divorce.

"It took me 13 times of running away in 14 years of marriage, with 10 years of him doing drugs," she said.

Since the van died, shelter employees have used an old station wagon and, at times, their own cars. Occasionally, they can borrow the van from the Honolulu shelter.

"We'll find a way to get them to the shelter, but it might take more time," said Sandra Joy Eastlack, administrator of Child & Family Services Oahu Domestic Violence Programs.

"We've had people off duty come and get women," she said. "We would not leave them stranded."

The number of women staying in Child & Family Service's 23-bed Honolulu shelter and 18-bed Leeward shelter has grown by 21 percent since 1994. Yet state money dwindled from $708,211 in 1994 to $495,292 funded for the year 2000.

When a woman calls the domestic crisis line -- 841-0822 -- a shelter employee tells her to go to a nearby safe place and wait for arranged transportation if the woman has no car.

Women come to the shelter with the clothes on their back. Child & Family Services recently had a fund-raiser to buy new underwear, Eastlack said.

The van picked up and delivered women's belongings, as well as donations from the public.

The van also carried children staying at the shelter to their usual school, so they could retain some part of normal life.

"The van really came in handy," said Jolynn, who for protection asked that her last name not be used.

"They do need a van. We'd go to functions, like the Christmas lights. We all go, ladies and kids."

The van took women to court to file temporary restraining orders against their batterers, and their children to doctors appointments.

"If the van didn't take me to the shelter," Jolynn said, "I'd be sleeping at the beach or at the malls."

To make donations of money, clothing, toiletries -- or a van -- call 847-4602.



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