Bank saves New Jersey shelter for women from foreclosure

WANAQUE, New Jersey (WABC) -- A bank is stepping in to save the day and help a shelter organization facing foreclosure at multiple locations in New Jersey.

The shelter, Strengthen Our Sisters, has provided services to abuse victims for more than two decades.

Columbia Bank and the Columbia Bank Foundation have had a huge hand in keeping Jennifer and her girls out of harm's way after they left an abusive home.

"Every day is filled with normal stuff and happiness, there's no more fighting, there's no more fear," Jennifer said.

They are being cared for and given a second chance at a better life at one of seven women's shelters run by the organization.

Jennifer and her girls now have a home environment, a place to sleep and learn and play thanks to founder Sandra Ramos who opened her home to anyone needing a place to stay more than 30 years ago.

"The ones that came were battered women, I had 23 people living in my house, because I had nowhere else to put them," Ramos said.

Today Ramos' shelters have served hundreds of woman at no charge. The shelters get no state assistance and have been on the verge of being shut down.

After Columbia Bank officials read an article in the local paper about the impending doom, they swooped in and called Ramos.

"He said, 'You haven't lost your passion, know we want to help you,'" Ramos said. "So they gave us a $50,000 grant from the foundation and they assumed the note."

The Columbia Bank Foundation has taken the shelter as its project to continue breathing life through its programs.

Those programs are the only lifelines that some women have to reach out to.

"It blows my mind that this is the only place that will actually help people because they want to help people, not because they're getting paid," Jennifer said.

Donations, food, money and clothing are always welcomed.

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