FARMINGTON — New Beginnings is facing a funding crisis.
The program provides housing and support to women and children fleeing abusive situations. To raise money and continue operations, New Beginnings is holding several fundraisiers in October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
New Beginnings has served as a safe haven for women and children since 1994. In addition to shelter, New Beginnings also provides life skills, employment training and self-esteem building to help women become self-sufficient.
The nonprofit receives some state and federal funding, but it relies on donations from churches, charitable groups and fundraising projects to stay in operation.
"Much of our funding over the last four years has shrunk dramatically due to the economy," said Susan Kimbler, New Beginnings' executive director. "Because of the decrease in funding, we are now only able to serve half the number of women and children we did before."
When a woman flees a home because of domestic violence, she and her children can stay at the Family Crisis Center -- which provides education, treatment and shelter services -- for up to three months. After that, she must find alternative housing, which is not always available, Kimbler said.
"Three months is not really long enough for these women to put their lives back together," she said. "If you've had to move from your home, and with the housing situation being what it is, a woman can wait on a list up to a year to get low-income housing. It's just so difficult to put all the pieces back together so quickly."
Women accepted into New Beginnings can stay in the program for up to a year. There currently is a waitlist to enter the program.
Due to the recent funding shortfall, some of the nonprofit's staff have been reduced, said New Beginnings' Board President Tiffaney Hergenreter. And the organization has been forced to double-up to care for the women and children at the shelter.
Volunteers could help fill some of those gaps, Hergenreter said.
"Sometimes, the ladies just need someone to talk with or pray with," she said. "We could also use help with child care, because a lot of times the only work the women are qualified for is as a waitress, or they have to work evening shifts at Walmart. There is no evening day care, and the kids need to be able to sleep in their own beds."
The funding crisis limits the program, which Hergenreter says is the only long-term domestic violence transitional facility in San Juan County. And it comes at a particularly bad time because cases of domestic abuse have increased dramatically in the county.
The Farmington Police Department received 2,532 domestic violence calls last year, and the San Juan County Sheriff's Office received 1,035 domestic violence reports, double the number in 2010, Hergenreter said.
"I think the increase is directly related to the economy, and other issues like high drug use in the community," she said.
Michael Patch is the Family Crisis Center's development manager. He says San Juan County's domestic violence rate is three times higher than the national average, so transitional programs, like New Beginnings, that help women become independent and financially stable are needed.
"Unfortunately, one of the main reasons we see people go back to abusive situations is financial," he said. "Especially when children are involved, people will put having a house and food for their children over any other concern. New Beginnings provides a great service, and anything that can help them expand and develop will be great for the community."
Hergenreder said 70 percent of women who complete the New Beginnings program continue to live violence-free lives and are able to support their children. Because of that, she hopes the organization will survive and help more women and children.
"When a woman has been repeatedly beaten down, she has no self esteem and feels she can't get out of it," Hergenreter said. "We help women become self-sufficient in a year's time, and no one can take that away from them."
What: New Beginnings October fundraisers
Chili's: On Oct. 1 and 15, if patrons of Chili’s, 4915 E. Main St., say they’re there to support New Beginnings, the restaurant will donate 10 percent of the meal receipt.
Krispy Kreme sale: From 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 4, doughnuts will be delivered to local businesses and individuals that placed orders in advance. Beginning at 8 a.m. Oct. 5, doughnuts will also be for sale at the entrances of Sam’s Club, 4500 E. Main St., and Walmart West, 1400 W. Main St. The sale will last until the doughnuts are sold. Doughnuts are $10 per dozen.
Drawing: Tickets cost $10 and will be for sale throughout October. The drawing will be Nov. 1, and the winner will receive half of the cash donations. There will be a table at Chili’s on Oct. 1 and 15, where drawing tickets can be bought, and they are also being sold at Animas Valley Insurance, 2890 Piñon Frontage Road or by calling New Beginnings.
More info: To order donuts, buy drawing tickets, or find out how to volunteer or donate to New Beginnings, call 505-325-7578. For more information on New Beginnings, visit nbnm.org.