Shelter House encouraging donations for pantry

Special to GateHouse Media Florida

FORT WALTON BEACH — In observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Shelter House has announced they are hosting a community grocery drive to help stock the pantry for the emergency shelter. The home has been at or near capacity since early summer, with 37 adults and 25 children residing there within the past two months alone. Community support of in-kind food donations is encouraged to offset a grocery bill that has more than quadrupled over the prior fiscal year.

The community is encouraged to help by giving gift cards to grocery stores or by providing the following items: Canned meats; Hamburger, Chicken, or Tuna Helper; macaroni and cheese; pasta and sauces; rice, canned vegetables, canned soups, Spaghetti O’s and ravioli.

The top non-grocery need for the emergency shelter is laundry detergent, as survivors often arrive at the shelter with minimal clothing and must do laundry multiple times per week. Paper products such as toilet paper and paper towels are also encouraged. Additionally, dog food for the on-site Kind Heart Kennel is a critical need for survivors who flee to the emergency shelter with their animals, a program developed because victims may not otherwise flee an abusive relationship for fear of what will happen to their pet if left behind.

To donate, the community is always welcome to drop off items at Shelter House’s main office at 16 Ferry Road SE in Fort Walton Beach during regular business hours. For this special community drive, donations can also be taken to Shelter House’s outreach offices in Crestview and DeFuniak Springs. Any local businesses that would like to become a drop-site for the month of October, please contact the main office at 850-243-1201.

All of Shelter House’s services are completely free and confidential. For more information, visit