DELAWARE WATER GAP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The first recipient at the Pocono Mountains Community Fundraiser is the Women’s Resources of Monroe County, a center that provides free and confidential services for anyone who has been a victim of domestic and sexual abuse.

Answering the calls for help. That is Jane Gagliardo’s role as a volunteer for the Women’s Resources of Monroe County. It’s a selfless task that hits home.

“I grew up in a very abusive home and I knew that there was a need. I could never save my mom, so this was a good way to make a wonderful tribute to her,” said Jane Gagliardo, a volunteer and executive director for the Women’s Resources of Monroe County.

The resource center has been around since 1980 offering free and confidential services for anyone who is a victim of domestic and sexual abuse.

It provides a safe emergency shelter and a 24/7 hotline: 570-421-4200. The hotline received more than 2,000 calls in 2021. The most they’ve seen in a one-year period.

“There’s a lot of cases that you carry with you, particularly when you’re at the hospital at 3:00 in the morning to shelter a woman and her children and show up and she’s wearing a t-shirt. She left running for her life,” Gagliardo added.

Executive Director Lauren Peterson says they’ve seen an uptick of people recognizing abuse and reaching out for help.

“It means the world for us to be able to be that light in the darkness for someone who is going through quite possibly the most terrible traumatic things anyone can experience in their lifetime,” explained Lauren Peterson, the executive director at Women’s Resources of Monroe County.

Peterson says the center’s backbone is its volunteers and they’re constantly looking for those wanting to lend a helping hand.