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Group to Aid Women Gets Help Itself

Last-minute donations will keep Women Helping Women, a nonprofit organization that teaches spousal abuse victims independent living skills, from shutting down for now.

The center’s staff was behind on rent for February and could not make payroll, making a closure imminent.

Donations from churches and individuals over the weekend, however, supplied just enough money for rent on the center’s Costa Mesa headquarters and a paycheck for its one part-time worker, said Roberta Kanter-Stein, treasurer.

The center provides abuse victims with clothing, haircuts, coaching on interview skills and other techniques needed to find and keep a job.

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Founded in 1995, the organization is one of a few countywide that gives such services outside of a women’s shelter environment, Kanter-Stein said. About 35 to 40 women a month benefit. Clients are referred through clergy, social services and helping organizations countywide.

Though out of the red for now, Women Helping Women is facing another round of rent, insurance, utilities and payroll tax payments in March, Kanter-Stein said.

“We still need money, obviously,” she said. “It starts all over again come the first.”

The volunteer-driven agency is funded mostly through private donations and small federal grants channeled through Orange County city governments. Plans to apply for more federal money are in the works, staff members said. The group’s space at the Rea Community Center is owned by the Newport-Mesa Unified School District and is sublet through the city. Several other charities, including those that work with the developmentally disabled, also are based at Rea.

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Donations to Women Helping Women may be sent to 661 Hamilton St., Suite 650, Costa Mesa, CA 92627. Information: (714) 631-2333.


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