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Grant funds help shelter fight bed bug infestation

Posted on Thursday, September 7, 2017 at 8:54 am

Turning Point is recovering from a recent bedbug infestation, an unbudgeted and costly endeavor for the women’s shelter.

But the outlook is looking much better thanks to a grant from Operation Round Up.

Turning Point was awarded a $3,000 grant by the Cuivre River Electric Community Trust Board. The funds will be used to purchase four metal twin bed frames with bedbug resistant mattresses and pillows.

Founded in the mid-90s, Turning Point operates a 20-bed emergency shelter for victims of adult sex trafficking and domestic and sexual violence. The organization primarily serves victims from Warren, Lincoln, St. Charles, Montgomery, Gasconade and Franklin counties. In addition, the agency provides a number of advocacy services.

Shelter officials appreciate the generosity of Cuivre River members who round up their monthly bill to the next dollar amount.

“The funding has been great,” Turning Point Executive Director Ellen Reed said. “Operation Round Up has been extremely instrumental in helping what we do.”

Due to the urgency of the situation, Turning Point officials were forced to move forward with treating the infestation and purchasing bedbug heaters without having any money budgeted to support the expense.

Officials were forced to temporarily relocate their residents to a hotel for a week and get rid of the shelter’s beds and remove carpet.

Overall, Turning Point has spent over $12,000 fighting the problem. Shelter clients are currently sleeping on cots received from St. Louis County Emergency Management Agency. Moving forward, new protocols are in place to keep the bedbugs away.

The shelter hopes to purchase more beds as additional funds are received.

“We have to be vigilant,” Reed said.

Turning Point receives state funding, but relies heavily on donations and grants, such as the one provided from Operation Round Up. All of its resources are provided at no cost to clients, of whom 90 percent live on less than $10,000 annually.

The demand for their services continues to increase each year. In 2016, Turning Point saw 250 clients in person, including 89 women and 45 children who spent a combined 3,663 nights at the shelter.

“The need is so intense,” Reed said. “It’s not getting any better. The challenge women and kids face are more complicated than they’ve ever been.”

For more information or to make a donation, visit www.turningpointdvs.com. Donations can also be mailed to P.O. Box 426, Warrenton, MO 63383.

The goal of Operation Round Up is to help address needs in the areas of health, education, home weatherization, youth, community and emergency services that cannot be met with other resources. More than $5 million have been awarded to applicants since the Operation Round Up program began in 1997.

Operation Round Up funds are administered by the seven-member volunteer Cuivre River Electric Community Trust Board. These funds are available to individuals and organizations within the CREC service area encompassing Lincoln, Pike, Warren and St. Charles counties. For more information or to download an application form, visit www.cuivre.com, call 800.392.3709, ext. 4837 or email tschmidt@cuivre.com.

Cuivre River Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Troy with a branch facility in Lake Saint Louis, is the largest member-owned electric distribution cooperative in Missouri. It provides service to more than 63,500 residential, business, commercial, industrial and agricultural members in Lincoln, Pike, St. Charles and Warren counties. For more information, visit www.cuivre.com or call (800) 392-3709.