Turning Point tries to keep holidays normal for abused families

Nov. 21, 2012 @ 01:21 PM

For many there is no place like home for the holidays. 

However, for others home is not a safe place to be. Residents at the Turning Point women's shelter spend their holidays at the shelter. 

Jannette Smith, whose name has been changed for her safety, spent the holidays in Turning Point's transitional housing last year, with other families who had escaped abusive situations. 

"(Turning Point) helped us out with Christmas," Smith said. "I couldn't afford anything for Christmas whatsoever." 

Turning Point assisted Smith and her children by providing gifts and other Christmas staples, like a tree to decorate. 

"If it wasn't for them, (the children) wouldn't have had a Christmas at all," Smith said. "It was wonderful." 

Smith, and many others in a shelter environment, worked to make the situation seem as normal as possible for the children. During the holidays, this usually means meals and a visit from a certain man in a red suit. 

"They didn't know it was from (Turning Point), they thought everything was from Santa," Smith said. It was wonderful. 

"It's different for each person," Smith said. "You have to try to make it as normal as you can for the kids." 

Smith's children were happy to be out of their prior situation, she said. 

"I was in a really bad situation. I had to leave everything that I had at home," Smith said. "(Turning Point) helped us out with everything I needed...if it wasn't for them, I honestly don't know where me and my children would be at." 

Smith is still living in transitional housing and plans to spend Thanksgiving with Turning Point. 

"(It) is like a family there, they invite us over, even though we don't live there anymore," Smith said. "It's just been a blessing for all of us."  

"Now we're trying to get my life back together again," Smith said. "They help us out so much." 

The holiday season is a time for thankfulness and giving. For Smith and others like her, they are thankful to be out of an abusive situation. Turning Point and other organizations provide them support and help as they recover from their situation.