CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Ashlie, 14, arrived at Patchwork -- a crisis shelter for runaway and homeless youth -- in the middle of the night escorted by a local police officer. But she wasn't in any trouble.Her parents' drug addictions had once again caused her problems. This time, the police were called after a particularly bad fight between the two of them.Ashlie used to watch her parents abuse drugs every day. Oftentimes, there wasn't enough food to eat and the utilities were turned off because the bills weren't being paid.Her mother and father would fight physically, often over drugs. But this time, when the police arrived at the scene, they took Ashlie with them.She showed up to Patchwork -- Daymark's Lee Street homeless shelter for children age 12 and over -- holding a trash bag full of her only belongings.There, the staff worked with her to assure that she was now safe and would get the help she needed.She had a snack and slept in a warm bed that night, and the next morning, Patchwork staff helped Ashlie figure out a plan.Ashlie was able to stay at Patchwork, where she received crisis counseling, food, shelter and clothing until she made arrangements to stay with a stable relative while her parents sought help.When she left Patchwork, Patchwork employees saw to it that she replaced her trash bag with a real suitcase.Last year, Patchwork helped about 200 youths with stories similar to Ashlie's.
To support Patchwork's mission, please consider donating to the Gazette Charities Christmas Funds.When you make a donation to the Gazette Charities, every penny goes to the agencies and people who need help.The Gazette covers the administrative costs of the fund. All donations to Gazette Charities are tax-deductible.To donate online, go to wvgazette.com and click on the Gazette Charities Christmas Fund logo.Reach Mackenzie Mays at firstname.lastname@example.org