Despite financial setbacks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the WomenShelter of Long Beach (WSLB) will celebrate National Women’s History Month with a series of virtual fundraising events.
In March of last year the city of Long Beach issued a Safer At Home Order that resulted in cancellation of most in-person socializing events. This included the WomenShelter’s annual fundraiser—their major revenue contributor of the year.
Despite a lack of funds, the shelter is still working to meet the demand of services from the Long Beach community.
According to WomenShelter of Long Beach Executive Director Mary Ellen Mitchell, the shelter has received an uptick in calls made to the domestic violence crisis line. As a result, the shelter has since developed a month-long waitlist for it’s housing services. In conjunction with other domestic violence agencies throughout California, the shelter is working diligently to get their clients the resources or housing they need.
“Everybody kind of shares information and tries to help out. I think for a while there it was pretty maxed out, it seemed like there wasn’t a lot of room for people in different agencies,” Mitchell said. “I think it seems like it’s kind of leveled out a little bit as far as crisis situations where they need to get out now.”
See related story: “Safer at Home? WomenShelter of Long Beach has housing for those who aren’t”
To combat the increased workload, the shelter hired an additional part-time domestic violence advocate to support clients virtually through their continued counseling services.
In order to make up for the unexpected loss, the shelter pivoted to hosting virtual charity events to seek financial support.
The WSLB 2021 Gala is one of the events they have promoted, a virtual fundraising celebration that will honor the founding women who established the shelter back in 1977.
According to their official website, the WSLB was the first of its kind in Southern California, established by psychologist and activist Dr. Virginia Corbett. Corbett gifted the first housing facility in hope of establishing a safe haven for victims of domestic violence, a form of violence she often saw inflicted upon her patients.
Honoring Corbett and others, the event will be held online on March 24 at 6 p.m. and community members are encouraged to register to join and participate via the shelter’s online website.
In addition, Long Beach artist Nuria Ortiz, who goes by the artist name “Ms. Yellow,” has collaborated with Long Beach Gives, Arts Council for Long Beach, LB Living, and A Cause Worth Wearing to create a unique design for the women’s shelter. The design will be imprinted on T-shirts and sold online with the benefits going towards the shelter.
“People are very generous in the city,” Mitchell said. “The community really really stepped up over the past year and we still appreciate that.”
The shelter will also host a silent auction that begins March 15 and lasts until the gala event. A variety of prizes will be made available including a paid trip to Hawaii.
Mitchell mentioned that it is through funding that the shelter can provide resources to those seeking asylum. She noted that a recent CARES Act grant allowed the shelter to buy Chromebooks for the kids in the shelter and other items such as gift cards for its clients.
Monetary donations, gift cards, and other forms of charity are accepted by the shelter and can be made by visiting their “donate” tab on their website.
The WomenShelter of Long Beach has a 24/7 call service with domestic violence advocates reachable at 562-437-4663 (562-437-HOME). If you or a loved one is experiencing domestic violence or requires immediate assistance such as emergency housing, they can be called or contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The WSLB accepts men, women, teens, and children of all backgrounds including members of the LGBTQ community.