Catalog of Giving: gifts for women in transition


Catalog of Giving: gifts for women in transition

5:08 p.m. PT Dec. 23, 2016

Lisa Bennett got involved with Shelly’s House after a conversation with one of the nonprofit’s volunteers.

She was told by Sonia Hoyt, chairwoman of the board, the organization helps “the unloved ones.”

This struck a chord with Bennett.

Shelly’s House provides transitional housing for female offenders in Salem. Volunteers mentor and assist residents in learning sustainable life skills and financial planning, among other things.

In this year’s Catalog of Giving, Shelly’s House requested women’s coats in medium through plus sizes; new or slightly used microwaves; and new women’s underwear in all sizes including plus sizes.

The organization soon received 12 winter coats and a pledge from two local women to outfit each resident with a coat. Meg Rowe and her partner took size and color preferences to make sure the women got coats they would use and enjoy.

They also received five new microwaves for the house, a toaster and two Rubbermaid storage containers.

“It just always shocks me,” Bennett said, talking about the impact of the donations. “It’s important to have partners in the community (for this reason).”

Bennett recalled her original conversation with Hoyt years ago.

“As Sonia says, ‘It only takes a conversation to change the world,’ ” she said.

Shelly’s House has 17 beds and serves about 50 women per year. The women are placed in the house by parole officers.

Because of the high turnover, the house materials get a lot of wear-and-tear. Leaders in the organization wanted things that could help the women and are difficult to obtain on their own.

After realizing how tough it is to find nice, affordable coats with hoods for the women, Bennett said the board has made it a point to request the coats in the Catalog of Giving every year.

Now, Bennett said people who want to help Shelly’s House can send bath towels and new underwear for the women.

And though the “giving season” is coming to an end, the need is not. Please search the Catalog and continue to give.

For more information on Shelly’s House, go to

Contact Natalie at, 503-399-6745, or follow her on Twitter @Nataliempate or on Facebook at 

Published by Natalie Pate

Natalie Pate is a freelance journalist and author based in Salem, Oregon. She wrote about education for more than seven years at the Statesman Journal and now covers education and other topics throughout the Pacific Northwest. She is originally from Colorado and earned her B.A. in Politics and French from Willamette University.

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