Donations dry up for local children's shelter

WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) – The Children's Shelter in Walnut Ridge opened their doors two years ago this month.  Now they are on the verge of closing those doors for good. 

"We will have to shut down.  If we can't pay our employees and cannot pay our bills we will have no other we will just have to shut down," said The Children's Shelter Director Lisa Hufstedler.

Beds and chairs at The Children's Shelter are lined with dolls, stuffed animals and drawings done by children who live there.  But with a downturn in their donations the shelter may be no more.

"Recently we have hit hard times our donations are down and we just need some additional funds," said Hufstedler.

Their budget runs around $20,000 a month.

"We run pretty much right at the $0 balance," said Hufstedler.

Last month their total cost was a little more than $17,000.  They were almost $7,000 in the red and it's been like that for several months.

"We are just finding it hard to meet the needs," said Hufstedler.

They get a lot of donations of food and clothing and other supplies and while all of these things are necessary what the shelter really needs to stay open is cash.

"A lot of people think that if they donate that they're helping and they are but we still need financial support," said Hufstedler.

"It has been a burden that we have worked with and strived with since day one," said Dan Ellison.

Former Lawrence County Sheriff Dan Ellison has seen the need of children like those who live at this shelter and said having the shelter is necessary.

"The shelter is going to close.  That's simple.  The shelter is going to close and these children are going to lose if somebody doesn't come and step forward," said Hufstedler>

If things don't turn around Hufstedler said they will have to shut their doors by the middle of July.  Over the past two years they've taken in 337 children.

For more information or to find out how you can help you can call The Children's Shelter at 870-886-5191.

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