KINGSTREE, S.C. -- The Pee Dee Coalition is putting the finishing touches on its new Williamsburg County Satellite Crisis Center in Kingstree.
Essentially “homeless” for the past five years, employees have been working out of a Lake City office to serve Williamsburg County needs.
Ellen Hamilton, the executive director of the Florence-based organization, said that since the Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault’s inception in 1986, it has sought to have permanent spaces for operations in each of the seven counties it serves.
Those counties are Dillon, Darlington, Marlboro, Chesterfield, Marion, Williamsburg and Florence. With the opening of the Williamsburg County center in 2020, only Marion County is left without permanent space for the coalition to work from and provide services.
The Williamsburg County Satellite Crisis Center Legacy Campaign has been the project to raise the money to help renovate and restore the former law offices at No. 2 Court Street in Kingstree. Underway for a year, the campaign is drawing to its end, Hamilton said.
To accomplish the goal, renovations were sponsored by area entities. For instance, a courtyard, storage room and screened porch area were sponsored by DSM.
The courtyard is essential as an open space where victims and volunteers, as well as employees, can go and take a breather, Powell said while assembling office furniture. The more we can do ourselves, she said, the more we save and the less we spend.
The town of Lane gave money to make improvements to the counseling room, donors provided funds for the conference and training room and hospitality room, and First Citizens Bank sponsored the volunteer work room.
Farmer’s Telephone Cooperative sponsored the coordinator room and Santee Electric Cooperative the center’s reception area.
No. 2 Court Street, former law offices, will become the work home for Freida Cox, the crisis center coordinator; Teavis Young, a counselor; and Adrielle Cooper, the volunteer coordinator. The building was constructed in 1905, Holly Powell said. Powell has been serving as the part-time Legacy Campaign project director.
The coalition as a whole, and the new Williamsburg County center, will offer services to victims, crisis intervention and advocacy, Hamilton said, along with education and self-defense courses.
With “Preserving a Legacy of Peace and Justice,” as the name of the campaign, Kingstree attorney Wendell Brown was named the honorary campaign chair. The Pee Dee Coalition is dedicated to the reduction of sexual assault, family violence and child abuse as well as to meeting the needs of victims. The coalition seeks to make the region a safer, more compassionate community.
Hamilton said the Pee Dee Coalition dipped into its savings to purchase the building and then set out to raise the $250,000 needed to renovate and restore it. The Pee Dee Coalition acquired it, insured it and renovated it, Hamilton said. Next the coalition will establish a county board to oversee the building’s maintenance and services.
An open house is planned for Feb. 20, Hamilton said.