Hand-made tie blankets a big comfort to children in crisis

The children of domestic violence victims can be just as traumatized as their mothers, so Alpha House, with a a lot of help from a Bakersfield senior living facility, is going to be able to provide a little more comfort to them.

A group of Pacific Senior Care Living residents came over from Bakersfield last week to deliver some handmade tie blankets to hand out to children who come to the women's shelter.

“It's just something that's really comforting to them,” said Alpha House Director Holi-Stephens-Allen. “They love it when they come here because it's something of their own. They are living in chaos. When they come in here they have nothing and a blanket is pretty comforting and they get to keep it.”

Melissa McFarland, activities director at Pacific Senior Living, said the residents choose one project each month to work on, and the blankets for Alpha hHouse came up this time.

Alpha House survives on grants, donations and fundraisers. It's getting very crowded at times, Stephens-Allen said.

Last year 74 women and 82 children spent a total of 1,711 days at the shelter.

It's been so crowded at times that four people are trying to sleep in a normal sized bedroom at times, and one woman even had to sleep on the floor.

Part of the problem is that the longer-term shelters in the area, one in Bakersfield and one in Ridgecrest, are just as full.

Alpha House is designed as an emergency shelter, meaning stays should last from 3 days to weeks.
But after 14 days there is often no place for the women and their children to go.

“We definitely have a need for a transitional shelter,” Stephens-Allen said.

Alpha House's annual fundraising barbecue and auction is coming up on April 26.

Tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for children aged 5 to 12 and children under 5 are free.

For tickets or to donate items for the auction, contact Alpha House at 661-763-4357.