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Women’s shelter seeks support

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Vanessa Scaife, left, founder and director of the Lighthouse Home, shares a laugh with tenant Donna Henry on June 25, 2016, at the nonprofit home.

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BY COREY DAVIS
Staff Writer

Monday, November 26, 2018

For the past 18 years, a woman in the Twin Counties has operated a home for women overcoming addiction.

In order to continue to supply their needs, Vanessa Scaife, owner of the Lighthouse Home, a Rocky Mount shelter for women in recovery from drugs and alcohol, said the 501(c)3 nonprofit is asking the public for emergency winter donations during the holidays. Scaife said all donations are tax deductible.

As a certified massage therapist, Scaife uses her income to supply needs for the Lighthouse Home and also relies on outside contributions.

"The upkeep and maintenance of the home is always an expense we need," Scaife said. "Our light bill is $800 and we really need help with our electric bill. Some girls work and some can't, but they do go out everyday being productive and going to their substance abuse classes is a must."

Scaife said the Lighthouse Home currently houses seven women and eight is the total amount the home can have. Scaife has relationships with organizations as far away as New York and New Jersey that send women to it.

Scaife said her beds are never empty and the women in the home include a couple of women who were victims of human trafficking and others who have been victims of the opioid epidemic.

"The opioid addiction is what is keeping our home at maximum capacity," Scaife said. "There is a true overflow of the women coming in from opioid addiction. There are financial services that need to be provided to take care of that, so we need money for food, transportation, clothing and some of course have pharmaceutical or medical needs after they're released because most of them don't have jobs or any income."

Scaife said as long as she has been in the area she has believed that people generally don't give unless it’s to a nonprofit organization. Even though the Lighthouse has that status, Scaife said with issues dealing with women, places like My Sister's House are more likely to receive more support in the Twin Counties than the Lighthouse.

"I feel I have to beg harder than most because we are women coming off drugs," Scaife said. "It's hard for people to come together with drug addicts. There is a stigma that they can get out and snap out of it whereas a battered woman is looked at in the area as she really needs our help — I'm not saying it's a wrong thing, but organizations like My Sister's House have a lot of funding because all people really think is all she needs to do is get away from a violent situation whereas the belief is a drug addict can shake her head and come back."

Scaife said when the Lighthouse started in 2000, there were about seven local shelter homes, but now hers is currently one of the few still operating.

"I just take risks and I get out there and make sure the bills are paid," Scaife said. "Other people can't do that — but it works for me and it may be just a miracle why it works."

Scaife added it's critical that people help these recovering women who are trying to turn their lives around and be productive people in society.

"With this being Christmas time, we just want people to know we need help because if not, we are forgotten," Scaife said. "We need people to know how serious the opioid addiction is because women are dying. I go to the morgue every month having to identify bodies and they show me pictures from different counties. I'm getting older and dealing with it and I'm not afraid to ask for help.”

People wishing to make contributions to help the Lighthouse can go online at https://thelighthousehome.com/about/donate/. If people prefer to send a check instead of an online donation, make checks payable to “The Lighthouse Home” and mail to P.O. Box 636, Tarboro NC 27886. Scaife also can be contacted at 252-314-0975.

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