With a blackened eye and fearing for her life, Heather fled from her abuser in the dead of night . . . seeking refuge and safety at Siena Francis House.
I want to tell you about Heather, who I met the day after she sought refuge at Siena Francis House. She was fleeing an abusive husband, and could barely look our staff in the eye when she darkened our doorstep requesting emergency shelter. Heather had unsuccessfully attempted to hide her swollen black eye behind her long hair, and it was hard to miss the golf ball-size lump on the back of her head. As our staff reassured Heather of her safety and helped her settle in, she shared her story.
Heather had been abused physically, verbally, and emotionally by her domineering husband for several years. From the beginning of their marriage, her husband made all decisions related to their household and finances. In fact, Heather rarely made even the simplest of decisions for herself, and she seldom was allowed to leave the house. Her life was totally controlled by her husband. The worst part of their relationship was when, in fits of drunken rage, he would direct his anger at Heather, throwing her around the house, often punching her in the face.
Heather had tried to leave her husband three times in the past, but each time, she ended up back at their house and under his control. The insecurity of having very little money of her own and no place else to go always forced her to return. This time, however, Heather was adamant that she was not going back.
Heather shared that, this time, after her abuser used his closed fist to punch her in the eye – a normal occurrence – he went down to his tool shop in the basement and found a crowbar. While Heather was looking for an ice pack for her eye in the freezer, her husband struck her on the head with the crowbar, using so much force she lost consciousness. Heather had no idea how long she had been knocked out, but when she woke, her husband wasn’t home. It was just before midnight.
Terrified that her very life might be in danger, Heather knew she could never see her abuser again. To save her life, she grabbed a few items and her coat, left her home and literally walked for over an hour to Siena Francis House. She arrived just after one o’clock in the morning.
Despite the hour, our staff took care of Heather’s basic needs right away. We searched through the donated items in our clothing room to give Heather warm pajamas in her size. We made her some chicken noodle soup, and gave her a couple cold gel packs for her head and black eye. After eating, and now feeling much safer than she had in her own home, Heather was ready for sleep. From that night on, we’ve made sure she’s received the basic things she needs each day – food, additional clothing, personal care items, and especially safety and security. We are currently helping Heather find appropriate housing outside our shelter.
I am so grateful to be part of an organization which exists to help people, like Heather, in their time of need, and I’m sure you are too. As our partner, you are helping Heather and each of the more than 400 individuals staying at Siena Francis House each night. Because of the generosity of so many kind and caring persons in our community, like you, we are able to provide our services to individuals experiencing homelessness. Your support makes a real difference to Siena Francis House, and especially to the people we serve.
Will you please make your Easter gift to Siena Francis House right now? Unfortunately, Heather’s story is not all that uncommon. Your donation will help care for Heather and for so many other victims of domestic violence like her this Easter.
Will you please consider making your Easter donation through our secure website, HERE? We truly need your help right now to provide food, shelter, clothing and refuge to the many hundreds of hungry and homeless persons who show up at our door daily.
I am so thankful to you for helping Siena Francis House provide these basic human services to the poor and homeless when they have nowhere else to turn. These services are only possible because of your generous financial support. Nearly all contributions to our homeless shelter come from compassionate members of our community, like you.
This terribly hard winter has been particularly difficult for people experiencing homelessness. While we wait for evidence of spring’s arrival, our staff continues to faithfully serve the many hundreds of hungry people who seek food and shelter every day. In order to support our mission and the homeless services we offer, will please send your gift to Siena Francis House right away? I would be so grateful.
Thank you and God bless you. I wish you a very happy Easter!
P.S. Please send your Easter gift today to help meet life’s most critical needs – food, shelter, clean clothes and safety – for people like Heather. With your support, our house is always open.
Gifts to Siena Francis House are used to provide food, shelter, clothing, and care of the people who turn to us during their hour of need, and are greatly appreciated. All of our services are provided at no cost to our guests. All gifts to Siena Francis House are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Our audited financial statements are freely available by writing to Siena Francis House, P.O. Box 217 DTS – Omaha, Nebraska – 68101. Our donor information is kept in strict confidence; our donor lists are never rented, shared, or exchanged with other organizations. The stories in our letters are real. Identifying details have been changed and file photos may be used to protect the privacy and therapeutic interest of our guests. For more information about Siena Francis House or to include us in your estate planning, please contact Siena Francis House Development Director, Tim Sully, at (402) 341-1821.