Sojourner Center at capacity; needs donations

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PHOENIX -- A Valley domestic violence shelter is running low on supplies this holiday season. The shelter is also at capacity.

The Sojourner Center has long been a safe haven for victims of domestic violence.

"When everything else in your life is chaotic, it's nice to have somewhere to breathe for a little while," says Sheri, who arrived at Sojourner more than two years ago, after escaping an abusive husband.

"To say what if I stay, what will happen to me and my kids," she says. "I can't take that chance."

It's a dilemma that Sojourner's Executive Director Dr. Maria Garay says increases during this season.

"It all exacerbates during the holidays," she says. "Tempers flare, violence occurs, conflict. That's why we have an increase in calls."

The center, which has nearly 150 beds, is at full capacity. During the month of November, they had to refer 117 women to other area shelters. That's up from 33 women, during November of 2012.

"We're housing every year close to 3,000 women and children. And half of those are children," she says.

Demand is so great right now, the center says they're running extremely low on basic necessities such as diapers, blankets, and even underwear. Shelter staff say many of the women show up with only what they can carry.

If you can help with any donations to the center, you can go online or call 602-253-9180.