Women's center flooded

August 2, 2010 3:46:23 PM PDT
Dozens who depend on the Women's Center of Wake County in downtown Raleigh will have to do without its services for two weeks because of flooding.

The center is located in the basement of a building at the corner of Hargett and Blount streets, and rain last week inundated the space.

"This is a door to an office, and so once it went over it just went under the door and flooded the office space," explained Executive Director Jean Williams.

The center has been hit by flooding before, but this time it's far worse. Now, fans fill each office and the hallway as workers try and dry the damage. Particle board desks absorbed the water and are now rotting out. Carpet on the floors will have to be replaced with tile.

To get the work done, everything is piled up where women and children usually grab a meal, arrange for child care, and make phone calls to find work.

The sign on the door of the center announcing it'll be two weeks before it reopens is now a sign of uncertainty for the 60-70 women who come to the center each day for all sorts of help.

While ABC11 cameras were at the center Monday, a young homeless mother with two children came by looking for diapers - something the center would usually provide.

"He peed in his pants because there's no diapers. And they provide us diapers, and now they're not open so I don't know what to do," she said.

"For some of the women, it is the only place they're going to get breakfast if they're not in any of the shelters. We are a white flag site during the heat as a day shelter for women and children," explained Williams.

When the heat returns this week, they'll need to go to another shelter for help where there are already waiting lists.

Long time clients hope the center re-opens quickly.

"They've just been life changing. I was going through a very difficult time in my life, and they gave me counseling and gave me clothes and just all kinds of things to get back on my feet," said client Laurie Brooks.

The center is scheduled to reopen August 16, but they need donations and supplies - particularly metal desks, heavy-duty plastic or metal shelving, as well as school supplies.

Anyone who’d like to make a donation should contact the Executive Director Jean Williams at jean.williams@womenscenterwc.org or go to the center's website where you can donate money: http://www.wcwc.org/index.html

Williams says if you have supplies or furniture to donate, they need time to finish the repair work before they can take it.

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