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    Two stores help the Haven have Christmas

    Customers at Stein Mart stores in Clearwater and Palm Harbor can provide gifts for children served by the shelter.

    By JULIANNE WU

    © St. Petersburg Times, published December 5, 2000


    CLEARWATER -- Holiday Giving Trees are sprouting in retail stores in Clearwater and Palm Harbor to benefit the Haven, a domestic violence center run by Religious Community Services.

    Stein Mart stores in the two cities are displaying trees adorned with brightly colored ornaments listing the needs of children served by the Haven's shelter, transitional living and outreach programs. The wish list was submitted by the youngsters and their families.

    "This is the first year we have giving trees at Stein Mart," said Frieda Widera, the Haven's program operations manager. "Obviously, it will provide holiday spirit and assistance to families in need. It also raises community awareness that our programs exist."

    Patrons can select one or more ornaments and purchase an appropriate gift for the listed child or children. The unwrapped gifts, which do not have to be purchased at Stein Mart, must be delivered to the store by Dec. 15.

    Representatives of the Haven will pick up and distribute the gifts to the families.

    The Haven, established in 1980, serves more than 10,000 women and children annually. Programs include a 30-day emergency shelter, two-year transitional living facility, 24-hour hotline, legal advocacy and individual and group counseling for survivors of domestic violence and their children.

    "Stein Mart is delighted to give back to the community which has supported us through the years," said Dawn LaCross, Stein Mart agenda consultant. "Our hope is to brighten the spirits of the children and let them know people really care."

    For additional information, call Stein Mart at 441-8829 or 784-5767 or the Haven, 441-2029. Stein Mart is at 320 Cleveland St. in Clearwater and 33591 U.S. 19 N in Palm Harbor.

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