SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Eva Stephens is a survivor. She found the strength to leave an abusive relationship, and with a little girl to care for.
"Had just gotten divorced and was seeking to go back to school," said Stephens.
She and her daughter were led here to Katheryn's House, a Christian-based haven for homeless and battered women and children run by Tyler Rescue Ministries.
"It's been a blessing," said Stephens. "It's the closest to home that you can get."
The founder, Reverend Maurice Barnes, says the need right now is tremendous. Families forced to foreclose on their homes, living out of cars. Battered women and children on the run. He has a vision to help more victims, but needs your help.
"Our giving is way down and...we don't solicit to the federal government for money or the United Way and so we depend on the local churches," said Barnes.
A separate non-profit, the East Texas Crisis Center, is also filled to capacity.
"I think the whole community needs to step up and hold these batterers accountable," said Shelly Lara.
At both shelters your donations, whether that be food, money, or clothes, goes directly to these women and children, trying to start a new life.
"The children are watching this," said Lara. "They're also victims as far as the verbal because when the mother is being abused, the children are around."
And, in these economic times, starting over takes courage.
"They're thinking, 'How am I going to pay the bills?' 'How am I going to pay child care?'" said Lara.
Stephen's life was changed so much by Katherine's House she now helps other victims.
"They've been rejected a lot," said Stephens. "You can sense that so we try to make them feel at home and love them."
And, they say even a small donation can go a long way. Both non-profits say if you can't give money, then personal hygiene items, clothing, even gift cards would be a great donation. To learn more about Katheryn's House, click here.