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Domestic violence organization needs donations; holding candlelight vigil

CASS COUNTY, Mich.-A local organization that provides help to victims of domestic violence is putting out a call for help of its own.

Domestic and Sexual Abuse Services provides aid to survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Cass, Van Buren and Saint Joseph County, Michigan.

“We always want survivors to feel like they’re embraced by us and that their community supports them,” said Kim Kramer, Executive Director.

The organization has a 24-hour emergency response program and crisis line. DASAS also has a round the clock shelter, which houses victims, in a confidential location.

The safe haven has 19 beds and offers various services, like helping victims find a safe home or a job. Many leave their homes and are forced to their lives all over again.

Kramer says they rely on the community for food and monetary donations to continue their mission.

“This time of year when we get to the end of the summer, we run low on food donations and supplies,” Kramer said. “We’re always looking for diapers, meat, soup and even gift cards so we can purchase weekly groceries,” Kramer said.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 20,000 phone calls are placed a day to domestic violence hotlines. 10 million people are physically abused by an intimate partner each year.

To help put a stop to the cycle, communities across the country are holding candlelight vigils to honor victims and survivors throughout October as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

DASAS holds candlelight vigils every year. The theme this year is “Domestic Violence Survives in the Dark: Shine a Light.” The organization says the names of locals that we lost to domestic violence are read aloud during the remembrance. At least 60 names are on their list, and in order to prevent more names from being added, a conversation needs to be had.

“When domestic violence remains unspoken, that’s where abusers gain their strength,” said Deborah Hackworth, Director of Advocacy Services. “We want to bring this out in the open and talk about it so hopefully we can end this pandemic,” Hackworth said.

One will be hosted outside of the Cass District Library in Cassopolis Tuesday evening at 7 P.M. Keynote speaker will be Honorable Judge Susan Dobrich from Cass County Circuit Court. A survivor will also their story. Candles will be provided and the public is welcome to attend.

A second vigil will be held Wednesday evening at the St. Joseph County Courthouse in Michigan at 7 P.M.

For more information on how you can contact Domestic and Sexual Abuse Services, click HERE.

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