Last-Minute Donation Covers Holiday Meal At Aberdeen Shelter

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — With home lives in flux for the families at Safe Harbor, those staying at the local shelter for victims of domestic violence or human trafficking will be celebrating together.

It’s a meal prepared by those living at the shelter and supported by local donations. But for one client, whose name is being kept confidential because she’s a victim of human trafficking, the meal is a way to celebrate her gratitude in finding a new path.

She recalls arriving at Safe Harbor in a vehicle with brake pads desperately in need of replacement. She had no home and no job and was fleeing an unsafe life.

Today, her vehicle is fixed, she’s working and soon she’ll be taking steps to find an apartment, the Aberdeen American News reported.

The woman gives credit for her success to the compassion she found at Safe Harbor. At the shelter, she found women supporting each other, encouraging each other and helping each other find their place in the world.

“I’m thankful for Safe Harbor and that they reached their hands out,” she said, noting she was in a dark, hopeless place.

The woman thought her stay at Safe Harbor would be temporary, like her stays at other shelters, but instead she found a connection and a path forward.

Safe Harbor Executive Director Gina Karst said this year an unexpected donation to the shelter covered the cost for the entire Thanksgiving meal.

Without the donation, Karst said, Safe Harbor would have paid for the food. But the donation now frees up money for other services, like requests for assistance.

“Every year the community is amazing,” she said. “We never feel deprived.”

Karst said the support “happens all the time” and, she said, the holidays are an especially busy time of giving.

Work with families continues beyond any stay at the shelter and includes a little holiday help through Blessing Baskets. Karst said the baskets are assembled with the help of the Presentation College campus ministry program.

The program had support from Molded Fiber Glass, a wind turbine blade plant that closed earlier this year. Karst said that Molded Fiber Glass had traditionally purchased the turkeys for the Blessing Baskets.

Just when organizers were wondering where the turkeys would come from this year, Safe Harbor received a $1,000 donation from Kitchen Tune-Up pay for the birds.