Several ladies were at Refuge Baptist Church earlier this week putting together Easter baskets for children who are affected by domestic violence.
 
Eleanor Clinkscales said this service is not for her, but for the children who are caught in the middle of domestic violence between parents.
 
Several Easter baskets were put together for children who are currently housed at the YWCA Domestic Violence Services of St. Clair County.
 
Ashville’s Pat McDaniel provided the Easter baskets.
 
“I have known Mrs. Clinkscales for a number of years,” McDaniel said. “It is great to know these children will have these baskets to enjoy.”
 
Carrie Leland is the Rural Domestic Violence Services coordinator.
 
“We provide domestic violence services for this county,” Leland said. “It includes emergency shelter for those women and children who are fleeing abuse. We have legal services where we can help domestic violence victims file divorces, child custody matters, a weekly support group for victims and relocation services.”
 
Leland said they provide a safe refuge for women and their children. At full capacity, the shelter is home to about 10 people. Leland said they are currently full, and are most often full.
 
“It’s bad enough that these children have to leave home because mom and dad are fighting,” Leland said. “Then you come to a strange place, and we do have some toys and things like that. But these Easter baskets are going to be so nice for these children. It makes them feel remembered. It gives a sense of normalcy back to their life.”
 
“It is important that these children not be forgotten,” Clinkscales said. “This is for the children. I am so pleased to be part of this.”
 
Clinkscales said there is an 8-year-old boy currently at the center, and they wanted to get him more than just an Easter basket.
 
“Our pastor’s wife, Katie Tolbert, purchased him a football,” Clinkscales said.
 
“I know Easter is not about toys and gifts; it is about the resurrection of our Lord and Savior,” Tolbert said. “But these children look forward to things like that.”
 
Robin Surles is a member of Refuge Baptist Church. She purchased Bibles to put in the Easter baskets.
 
“I did this because I wanted these children to have a Bible,” Surles said. “I was raised that there was more to Easter than the basket, candy and toys. We always had a Bible or movie or something religious in our Easter basket.”
 
Since the shelter opened in 2009, it has been home to about 300 women and children from St. Clair County.
 
“It is sad to say that domestic violence does happen in St. Clair County,” Leland said. “The running commentary that I have tried to tell people is that some people think domestic violence is ‘those’ people. But domestic violence happens to all people. The haves and the have-nots. We are kidding ourselves if we think domestic violence is not around us and happens to people we know.”