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Shelter in Luzerne County celebrating 20 years of helping homeless women

Newswatch 16's Emily Kress tells us more about the fundraising efforts to keep the shelter open for another 20 years.

LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. — For women facing homelessness, Ruth's Place in Wilkes-Barre is a safe haven. 

"Well, to me, it means life or death. If it wasn't for Ruth's Place, I don't know where I would be, I was sleeping on the streets, homeless, said Melanie Fox. 

Melanie Fox has been staying at the shelter for a week. Ruth's Place has 20 beds, and all of them are being used. 

It's the only women's emergency shelter in Luzerne County. 

"I think a lot of us are one paycheck away from homelessness; one bad circumstance, a housefire, accidents, things happen that you're not always prepared for, and I think in today's day in age, where wages are low, and housing is hard to find it is a sad reality for more and more people," said Volunteers of America Director Crystal Kotlowski.

The shelter relies on donations and fundraisers to keep the doors open with resources for the women it serves. 

"To keep the place running, anything is appreciated, hygiene products, blankets, pillows, all that stuff is well used," said Fox. 

"Pretty much anything you would need in your house, we need it times 20. So funding all of that is a lot of work, and it takes a lot of effort," explained Kotlowski.

Ruth's Place is kicking off fundraising with its annual "Walk for Hope" coming up on Saturday, June 3rd. 

Last year's walk was the first in-person walk since the pandemic. This year, to celebrate 20 years of helping homeless women get back on their feet, organizers are hoping for lots of community support. 

"We had our walk last year, and it got really rained out, so we are hoping this year it will be better, and we are going to be back at Public Square with our event," Kotlowski. 

You can learn more about the mission of Ruth's Place here.

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