ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter expands its mission with a new service, even during the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a time when people were trying to spread out, the phone was ringing off the hook at the Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter.

“It’s difficult when we can’t meet the needs for everybody who reaches out simply because of space and capacity,” NWAWS Community Engagement and Education Director Amber Lacewell said.

So the shelter adapted, meeting that demand with virtual services. And in 2021, it even started a brand new re-housing program, helping domestic violence survivors well beyond the 30 days they typically stay at the shelter.

“What we’ve seen through that program so far is that the individuals who utilize that program, they’re very independent. They don’t have a need in the future to return to an abusive partner because of finances,” Lacewell said.

That of course takes more money; something that was not easy to come by during the pandemic.

“In 2021, our largest federal grantor cut all the programs in the state 40% from all of our budget which was a hard pill to swallow as we are launching this re-housing program. So we had to get really creative and the community has just completely rallied behind us,” Lacewell said.

Supporters kept showing up for virtual 5K runs and online fundraisers.

“We did the party boxes and we did live stream and it was fun, but this year we are going all out for a huge, Monte Carlo casino night celebration,” NWAWS Development Director Stacy Seger said.

It will be a time to celebrate the shelter’s important work and finally being together again in person.

“It’s one thing to be able to thank people with a phone call or with an e-mail or with a letter, but to be able to gather in celebration with our supporters is going to be so exciting this year,” Seger said.

If you want to help the shelter out, it has a use for just about anything. For example, right now, it is running low on pillows for all of its guests. If you are interested in the in-person run or casino night this year, click here.