Smithfield shelter offers a haven for abused women

Johnston’s Harbor Inc. relies on donations, grants to fund its services

mcaulder@newsobserver.comDecember 19, 2012 

  • There’s still time to be-Devil Barry, if you act now! We’ve extended our Holiday Guide to Giving challenge until Christmas Day. If donations from N&O readers to the many charities on our list top $58,000 through Dec. 25, columnist Barry Saunders will don the garb of his hated Duke Blue Devils for a picture we’ll publish after the first of the year. Be sure and tell us any money or other donations you give, so we can add it to the grand total. Just go to our database of local charities at and click “search” to see the entire list of needs. Make a donation to one or several of them. Then send an email to Burgetta Wheeler at with the amount, your name or company’s name, and a phone number. Please put HOLIDAY CHALLENGE in the subject line. Thank you in advance for your generosity. Let’s all give, so we can be-Devil Barry in 2013.

— Nationwide, there are about 207,750 sexual assaults each year – about one every two minutes, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network website.

In North Carolina, 1 in 5 women have been sexually assaulted at some point in their lives, said the state Department of Health and Human Services.

In the face of such daunting statistics, a Johnston County organization works to heal wounds that have already been inflicted and to prevent more.

Harbor Inc. in Smithfield operates a shelter for survivors of domestic violence, as well as support programs for sexual assault survivors as they navigate their lives afterward. The group is one of the charities seeking help in The News & Observer’s Holiday Guide to Giving this year.

Harbor Inc. can house about 14 women and their children at a time at the shelter. Programs there help women build a life after they separate from their circumstances.

The services are free. The shelter is a private nonprofit largely funded by donations from United Way of the Greater Triangle, state grants, federal grants, local grants and donations from individuals.

Harbor Inc. also funds its shelter with profits from Pizazz, a chain of two thrift stores in Smithfield and Clayton.

For Whitney Kelbaugh, sexual assault program coordinator for Harbor Inc., seeing survivors grow to live violence-free lifestyles makes her work worthwhile.

“It takes a lot for a survivor to get out and stay out,” Kelbaugh said.

A key facet to helping stop sexual assault and domestic violence is prevention education, Kelbaugh said.

How you can help

The shelter is run by a mix of full-time, part-time and volunteer workers who must complete a 20-hour training course. Volunteers range from those who help with building and grounds upkeep to hospital responders on call to provide advocacy.

There also are volunteer jobs working the 24-hour hotline, as court advocates and in the thrift stores at 132 E. Main St. in Clayton or 119 N. Third St. in Smithfield.

To volunteer, download the application at and email it to Potential volunteers also can call 919-938-3566, ext. 202, to request a volunteer application.

Donations can be made online at the shelter’s website.

Caulder: 919-829-4758

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