Elks Lodge grant funds new mattresses for Victim Services

Left to right are Dan Ponder of the Cullman Elks Lodge, Victim Services Interim Executive Director Jessica Atchley, Cullman Elks Lodge Incoming Exalted Ruler Cody Daniel and Austin Wilbert of the Cullman Elks Lodge. (Jessica Atchley)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman Elks Lodge recently gave local nonprofit Victim Services of Cullman (VSOC) a grant of approximately $4,000. The center, which provides domestic violence crisis response and recovery services, used the funds to replace nearly 25 mattresses in its two local shelters.

“The Cullman Elks Lodge received a grant for Victim Services this year. It’s a grant they have historically given multiple years in a row for Victim Services; they’ve bought playground sets and various different things. This year the big ask was – what do we need? I said, ‘We really need mattresses,’” said VSOC Interim Executive Director Jessica Atchley. With 20-25 of VSOC’s shelter beds being consistently full, Atchley said the replacements were needed. “All of our mattresses, they’ve seen better days; they were just really springy, uncomfortable, some were very hard.”

While the shelters at VSOC are available to those in immediate need or in crisis, VSOC is available to victims of domestic violence in a number of capacities, from counseling to court advocates who attend legal proceedings involving abusers. It is an organization committed to aiding victims of domestic violence, and Atchley said she wants the community to know of the advocacy programs, classes and resources that are available.

“We do offer emergency shelter and transitional, but I think a lot of people are unaware of the services we can offer. There is so much that we can do and they don’t have to be in shelter to take advantage of,” she said. “We have a court advocate; so let’s say someone left a domestic violence situation, but they’re in a safe place and don’t need immediate shelter – we can provide services. Our court advocate will go to court with them, help file an order of protection, attend any kind of court proceedings, and they don’t have to go by themselves.”

VSOC offers an array of counseling options for survivors of any level of domestic violence. There are parenting classes to help rebuild a healthy parenting relationship and counseling for children who have been witnesses to or victims of domestic violence themselves.

Atchley added, “We do provide our counseling services 100% free to victims of domestic violence; they do not have to pay a dime.”

Victim Services of Cullman is located at 310 Third Ave. NE. Contact the administrative office at 256-775-2600 or the 24-hour crisis line at 256-734-6100.

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