Women and their children need your help

The effects of the tough economy are being felt across the nation and right here in mid Missouri.

The Salvation Army TMs shelter in Jefferson City is seeing a record number of women and children.

And they need your help.

14 children are calling the Center of Hope Emergency Shelter in Jefferson City home.

They range in age from infants to 17-years old.

Major Kendall Mathews said having so many women use the shelter is new for them and thinks it's all due to the hard economy.

"We TMre not at 50%, we're not at 75%, we're not at 100%, we're at 103%, Mathews said. "When you think of a shelter you think of homeless men period. Now it's more than homeless men, more than homeless veterans. We have homeless women, homeless mothers who have just been out there on the street living with their friends and moving from apartment to apartment and we want to give them a new start. We want the slate to be clean when they come here to the Salvation Army."

One of those women is Brittney Vernell.

She moved to the shelter when her daughter, Carly, was just two weeks old.

"She's too young to be out living with different people and being out on the streets," Vernell said.

As it is for many women, the shelter was a safe place for the new mom and her baby when no where else was.

The Salvation Army TMs Center of Hope also is making sure children are given more than just a roof over their heads; they're making sure they're given a future.

"We TMve established a new relationship with the school system where we are working with their family case workers, Mathews said. We're doing more home visits, were making sure children get to school."

Throughout the years, the shelter hasn't needed to provide for children nearly as much as they are now.

Now the center of hope emergency shelter needs the public's help.

"We need the financial support but we need diapers, we need wet wipes, we need baby bottles, we need basic necessities for younger children," Mathews said.

For moms like Brittney Vernell the shelter has given them hope, while their little ones give them a meaning.

"She TMs teaching me how to love, she's teaching me to keep moving and go forward," Vernell said.

Usually the shelter allows people to stay 90 days.

But during these hard times, it takes longer to find a job and a place to live so some people are staying up to a year.

The Salvation Army TMs found higher success rates when people are able to stay longer.

As for Brittney and Carly, they are now living on their own but Brittney said she knows if she ever needs help, or formula or diapers she can count on the center of hope.

If you would like to help out the Salvation Army you can take your donations to any of their locations.