HELENA- Employees of the Montana Department of Health and Human Services raised $5,600 this year to benefit Helena’s Friendship Center.

The donation comes from the state agency’s annual holiday fundraiser, now in its 26th year.

DPHHS employees held craft and bake sales over the last three months to raise the money.

DPHHS Director Sheila Hogan says she’s proud of her staff for all they do and says this fundraiser shows just how passionate they are helping the people in Montana who don’t always have a voice.

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In addition to the money agency staff collected personal care items such as pillows, dishes, and toys to donate to the shelter.

Friendship Center Executive Director Mike Batista says donations like these mean the world to the shelter.

“It helps us a lot,” said Batista, “We are a small nonprofit, we rely heavily on individual donations and fundraisers, and this amount of money will help us a lot in terms of our operational costs and continuing to provide service to our clients.”

Helena’s Friendship Center provides safe shelter, support, counseling and helps for victims of domestic or sexual violence or abuse

For more information about services the Friendship Center provides and how to help visit http://thefriendshipcenter.org/