Valley Crisis Center says it was burglarized, losing computers and family gifts

Valley Crisis Center said it was burglarized Thursday night, losing two computers and several large sacks of gifts for families.

The gifts were donations from community members who wanted to help families who have been displaced from their homes because of domestic violence.

"These families would otherwise have nothing this holiday season without the generous support of our community," Genevieve Bardini-Davis, program director, said in a news release.

Valley Crisis Center staff are seeking help from community members and organizations to meet the needs of those families whose gifts were stolen.

The loss of computer equipment also hurts the center.

"As a nonprofit organization, obtaining quality computer systems is a continual challenge, as the majority of our funding goes to providing life-saving direct services to families in crisis," Bardini-Davis said.

Studies show that incidents of domestic violence in the United States go up 22 percent on Thanksgiving, 17 percent on Christmas, 32 percent on New Year's Eve and 19 percent on New Year's Day, according to the center's news release.

Crisis center staff are available and ready to respond 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to help survivors. Trained advocates are available to listen to survivors and to provide confidential crisis intervention, peer counseling, emergency shelter, legal advocacy, safety planning and referrals.

In 2011, Valley Crisis Center served about 1,000 victims of domestic violence and their families in Merced County.

Valley Crisis Center is asking for help to replace the stolen items. If you have any questions, please contact the center at (209) 725-7900.