New children’s home needs new furnishings |

New children’s home needs new furnishings

by Kim Riggs

I’ve always wondered if people understand the Volunteers of America shelter and how it discreetly fits into our community. What is the purpose of this shelter? Who does it help? And why is it here?

All of these are great questions. What happens to children in emergency situations who need immediate shelter and a safe environment?

At the recent conclusion to the Rios child-abuse case, with the children speaking in the victim-impact statements prior to the sentencing, there was not a dry eye in the courtroom.

These children, as well as so many others, have to be placed in a shelter or foster home, for a variety of reasons. For years, I have visited the VOA to see children being taking care of in a loving environment – some for the first time in their entire lives.

When an officer finds a child in the middle of a meth raid and is forced to arrest the parent, that child will most likely end up in a VOA immediate-emergency shelter.

Under shelter director Jim Powell, VOA has a quiet group that carefully tries to rebuild the damage to which these children have been exposed. Now, VOA is moving to a new home.

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Recently, I received a call from Justin Harris at Starbucks in Gardnerville. He had heard about VOA having to relocate the children’s shelter and wanted to help.

The VOA is moving to a four-bedroom facility that could truly use a makeover. They currently have bedroom furniture and other donated items that function, but could definitely be replaced. Having had three children myself, I know things get worn out as children come and go.

A new place with a new makeover would be a Christmas gift to so many. So Justin made calls then stopped in at both Wal-Mart stores, where Angie and Dana both said, “Great idea! We will help.”

Then Justin went to Starbucks roasting plant in Douglas County and explained the situation. They also said they are here for our communities and for the children in need. Justin headed to JM furniture on Topsy Lane, and they asked, “What can we do?”

We need to come together and bring the true meaning of Christmas to our town and our children, and this one small snowball will hopefully become an avalanche of giving.

Here is the wish list for the four rooms – for boys, for girls, for babies and for sibling groups to be together. New furniture is a must: beds, safe cribs, dressers so children can have their own drawers and a dining room table.

At 5 p.m. every night, they gather the children around the dining table like a family for a home-cooked meal. Some children have told me they had never sat down at a table for dinner before coming to the shelter.

I ran into Judge John Tatro at the gas station and told him the situation and asked if service groups, like Rotary International of Carson City, would be willing to help.

Perhaps Rotary could adopt the boys’ room and other clubs could adopt a room or share sponsorship of one. New bedding, matching curtains … I know some clubs out there sew, like the SBC/Nevada Bell Telephone Pioneers Ladies Group. I know the St. Teresa Women’s Group could make beautiful baby quilts.

We can do this. Jim will be his usual humble self, and Jeannie will be very grateful. But you know who this affects the most: the children in the shelter.

If you want to help contact Justin at

The truest gift you can give is kindness to a stranger. Wishing you all happy holidays!

• If you would like your information included, contact Kim Riggs at