MANNING - One of every three women and one out of every four men will experience at least one form of domestic violence during her or his lifetime, according to statistics released from the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.
For more than 18 years, South Carolina has ranked in the top 10 states on the number of women killed by men, a rate double the national average.
Clarendon County resident Ann Driggers said she felt the Lord calling her into his ministry in 2002.
"Then I started getting visions of starting a ministry to aid women who have been victims of domestic violence," she said. "I started promoting the ministry in the Turbeville area. I held a meeting to share information."
Driggers said her vision was finally tweaked into a house or home for women who have experienced domestic violence.
In 2008, Driggers' vision became a reality when she opened the doors to Jordan Crossroads Ministry Center - Haven of Rest facility, a place where battered and bruised women and their small children can go as a "safe haven."
"They have to be in a crisis," she added. "We give them shelter and food and a safe place to stay."
JCMC Haven of Rest is a two-bedroom, two-bath facility that can house up to six people at one time.
Since its inception in 2009, the Haven of Rest has housed 43 women and 47 children.
"We're looking for a female resident director," Driggers said. "We've advertised for the position, but we can't seem to find the right person."
According to Driggers, women can stay at the facility up to 90 days. During that time, the women are provided a stable residence where they're encouraged to look for work through SC Works and provided educational needs through Central Carolina Technical College.
Driggers said First Baptist Church in Manning's Friendship House has been a "wonderful help" by providing the women with needed clothing.
Funding for the facility is provided through the generous donations of local residents, companies and fundraisers, she said.
"We don't get any state or federal money," Driggers said. "We filed for a few grants, but nothing came through."
All the money received through donations goes right into the facility and the needs of the women and children, she said.
"I don't get paid, and no one on our board is paid," Driggers added. "We're all volunteers."
Cheryl Coggins is one of the facility's volunteers. Coggins said that she and another member of Hands of Grace at Grace Christian Fellowship Church in Manning wanted to get involved in helping out in the community.
"I met (Driggers) for the first time at Walmart," Coggins said with a laugh. "I contacted the local sheriff's office, and they directed me to Ann."
Coggins, who is a retired from the Massachusetts State Police, said she has seen firsthand the devastation that domestic violence has on women.
"I know that domestic violence rate is high in South Carolina," she said. "I wanted to help."
On Oct. 21, JCMC-Haven of Rest has teamed up with Chris Sheppard, a promoter for the Southern Heritage Talent Agency, to hold the "Southern Gospel Singing" from 6 to 9 p.m. at Weldon Auditorium, 7 Maple St., Manning. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Groups of 15 or more can purchase tickets for $10. For more information, visit JCMC-Haven of Rest's website: jordancrossroadsministrycenter.com, or call Driggers at (803) 309-8085.
Six gospel groups will be performing and donating their time to the fundraiser. A love offering to assist them with their travel expenses will be held during the singing's intermission.
"We are so blessed to have Chris do this for us," Driggers said. "We've also been blessed with generous donations from sponsors and individuals."
Haven of Rest is in need of the following items: queen-sized mattress pads, a door bell, liquid laundry detergent, bath towels, devotional books, notebook paper, a TV antenna, large bottles of shampoo and conditioner, large bottles of lotion, pods and Jet Dry for the dishwasher and non-perishable food items. At various times, the facility has also needed baby diapers and other baby supplies.
"I felt this calling more than 10 years ago," Driggers said. "Sometimes it's been hard keeping the home open, but the Lord has always answered our needs."
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