St. Martha’s Hall is a not-for-profit agency, which provides a shelter care program for abused women and their children. We opened our doors on May l, l983, as a result of the overwhelming requests for emergency shelter from battered women through Dial-Help of Catholic Charities. At that time, the shelter had space for 8 women and 12 children. In 1986, the shelter expanded its capacity to 9 women and 15 children.
In 1985, our Children’s Program was created to address the needs of children coming to the shelter with their mothers. The Junior League of St. Louis originally funded this program and provided volunteer support. The program is designed to help children cope with the effects of woman battering by participating in individual and group counseling. In 1993, through the generosity of a Board member, the Children’s Program expanded to include an Early Childhood component.
In 1986, a collaborative effort between St. Martha’s Hall and Lutheran Family Services resulted in the first parenting groups offered to residents of a battered woman’s shelter in the St. Louis Metropolitan area. Our own shelter staff now facilitates these parenting groups.
Through the vision and courage of St. Louis County Executive George “Buzz” Westfall the first shelter for battered women in St. Louis County opened on October 5, 1992. In cooperation with St. Louis County government, St. Martha’s Hall began operating the Kathy J. Weinman Shelter for battered women. The shelter initially had space for 10 women and 15 children. In December of 1996, through the generosity of a grant from United Parcel Services, the shelter expanded its capacity to 20 women and 30 children. St. Martha’s Hall operated the Kathy J. Weinman Shelter for 15 years until January 1, 2008 when St. Louis County Department of Human Services assumed the operation of the shelter.
St. Martha’s Hall holds on in hope that someday women will be safe but until that day arrives we will continue in our efforts to provide abused women and their children a safe refuge.