PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - Hundreds of East Alabama children rely on the services of the Russell County Child Advocacy Center each year after enduring or witnessing abuse or trauma, and a generous donation from one local business on Tuesday is helping the center continue those services.
"We want to present to you today, a check to Russell County CAC for $17,200," said Phenix City business owner Jay Shepherd.
It is big check that will go a long way.
"$17,000 gets us through literally a hump sometimes. We have some funding sources that do not send checks on a regular basis. Instead of getting them every month we may get them four months later," said Lynn Hammock, Executive Director of the Russell County Advocacy Center.
After an April fishing tournament fundraiser, the Shepherd Brokers Real Estate group was able to give a big chunk of money to the Russell County Child Advocacy Center.
"I think any time you can help your community and any type of fundraiser, that businesses ought to do it," said Shepherd.
"We actually serve children that are victims of sexual abuse, severe physical abuse, and neglect and also witnesses to violence," said Hammock.
Hammock says their services are crucial to the community, and funding is always needed to help victims who come forward, along with those who remain silent.
"In our last fiscal year we served 154 children. We know that just by statistics and nationally that for everyone that comes forward, there's two more that still have not told," she said.
Without donations from local businesses, nearly 900 child advocacy centers across the country might not be able to fully function, which could mean more perpetrators slip through the cracks.
"It's typically going to be a very warm and inviting environment for a child to come in and talk about a traumatic event that may have happened in their life. Before that, they would go to law enforcement so they'd go into dingy walls, very cold and sterile environment, and a lot of kids just would not disclose because they were afraid of where they were," said Hammock.
The money donated from the Shepherd Brokers Real Estate group will help the advocacy center with funding their in-school prevention programs that teach children signs of sexual abuse and what kinds of touches are appropriate.
The center also offer counseling services to children they serve which can be a costly process for families without an advocacy center nearby.