Laura's House often sees bruised and battered women with small children in tow show up on the doorstep of its emergency shelters. They bring no bags and often arrive in terror--both of their abusive spouses and the unknown into which they are leaping.
Right now, Laura's House can help about 270 women and children per year in shelters secreted around south Orange County--but there is always a waiting list, said spokeswoman Suzanne Collier.
The organization can also hand out a few hotel vouchers to some in the queue, but the rest are left to drift, sometimes back to the dangerous homes from which they escaped.
That's why Laura's House kicked off its 2012 fundraising campaign Wednesday with an event at its San Clemente transitional living shelter, collecting cash to add space for 175 more women and children each year.
Collier said Laura's House needs an additional $700,000 to reach its $4.5-million goal. The money will fund the group's transitional shelter program, which offers women a place to stay while they find jobs, apartments, vehicles and the general ability to live independently.
Independence means these women don't face the temptation to backslide into abuse because of financial security, officials said.
For more information, visit www.laurashouse.org or call 949-361-3775.
Editor's Note: In the interest of full disclosure, Patch Editor Adam Townsend and Patch as a company have been involved in significant fundraising activity for Laura's House.