February, the month of love, is just around the corner and that means that U Care is preparing for its ninth annual reverse drawing.
U Care, the local, private nonprofit organization that helps victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, will hold its fundraising Feb. 15 at 6:30pm at the Agri-Exposition Center. Tickets are on sell now.
“As usual, there will be the reverse drawing for a cash prize of $5,000. There will also be a steak dinner for two, a silent auction and entertainment during dinner,” said Pam Gonzalez, director of U Care. “We’ve had some really neat auction items donated in the past, like one year, there was a pop-up camper. It’s always a fun event.”
For U Care, an organization that relies solely on grants, contributions and The Beehive thrift store, the reverse drawing is a very important fundraising opportunity, often helping them to keep their doors open.
“Last year, we raised around $28,000 through the reverse drawing,” shared Gonzalez. “A lot of the money is used to help keep our doors open 24 hours a day. It helps with the unexpected expenses. For instance, utilities are really hard to budget, especially since we plan our budgets a year, or sometimes two years, in advance. I know that the past couple of years our utilities have really gone up so the money helps us make it through the year.”
Gonzalez added that funding for repairs is currently a great need.
“We need a lot of repairs done. I’ve had to have the heat worked on about three times,” said Gonzalez. “I’d love to replace the carpet which we’ve had for 18 years; it’s been good. We also need to get the house pressure washed. Just general upkeep, things like that. Right now, all the money we receive goes straight into operations so that we can stay open and take care of our clients.”
Keeping their doors open is a must, according to Gonzalez, because the number of people needing help is increasing all the time.
“In 2012, we helped 2,791 people,” reported Gonzalez. “In 2013, we anticipate helping about 3,000.”
“The number of victims is increasing,” she continued. “Abuse has always been there, but I think it’s more out in the open now. People just don’t seem to care where it happens anymore. There are attacks in public, and we’ve seen a rise in attacks at the workplace. It seems like people are just becoming desensitized to their consciences or something.”
As the number of abuse victims rises, the number of abusers getting help is decreasing, a troubling trend to Gonzalez and the U Care family.
“We have an abuser treatment program and the numbers for it have dropped by at least 80 percent. Abusers are supposed to be ordered to take the class but that’s not really happening. Someone is dropping the ball and I’m not sure who it is. Maybe it’s general disconcern or complacency, but people need to be concerned,” stressed Gonzalez. “Even if it’s not happening to you, it’s happening to others.”
As she looks ahead and anticipates future needs, Gonzalez is excited about the reverse drawing and is thankful for the community’s support of Sampson’s domestic violence shelter.
“We really appreciate everything that people do for us,” shared Gonzalez. “A lot of the time people say that what they do is nothing, but it’s not; it’s really something andit means a lot to us.”
For more information about U Care and their reverse drawing, call 596-0931 or find them on Facebook.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 123 or via email at email@example.com.