Saturday night featured a menu of hors d'oeuvres, dinner, dance steps and steps to make a difference during the fifth annual Spring Bling Dinner and Dance, benefitting the Anderson County Blankets and Bears Children's Fund.
Jessi Jones, the S.A.N.E. (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) for the Crisis Center of Anderson and Cherokee Counties, served as master of ceremonies during the program, sharing statistics on child abuse with those in attendance and presenting awards to four organizations whose efforts support the mission of the Blankets and Bears Children's Fund.
Last year, the fund contributed $25,000 to purchase new medical equipment for Jones' involvement in sexual assault cases.
“About 15 percent of sexual assault and rape victims are under the age of 12, and I would say that Anderson County's average is about 12 of the victims that I see,” Jones told attendants.
She said 93 percent of sexual assault victims are assaulted by family members in the home.
“And I would say in Anderson County that number's probably a little bit higher,” Jones said.
To combat this, the fund presented awards to the following organizations, whose efforts add up in the fight against child abuse:
The Anderson County Rainbow Room: $1,000. The center provides emergency resources to Child Protective Services caseworkers to meet the needs of abused or neglected children. The center works to provide basic needs such as food, clothing, diapers, formula, personal hygiene items and household cleaning supplies.
Anderson County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA): $1,000. Volunteers serve as court-appointed advocates on behalf of abused and neglected children.
Refuge of Light: $1,000. This nonprofit organization provides a safe home for girls under the age of 18 who have been victimized in human trafficking. The organization also works to provide physical, mental and spiritual healing for victims through a number of specialized efforts.