Pay it Forward

Mardi Gras event to benefit REACH

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Jennifer Turner-Lynn

REACH is hosting the 7th Annual Mardi Gras at J.R. Chophouse on Feb. 13. This sell-out event hosts 165 attendees who savor New Orleans-inspired food and spirits and don their best Mardi Gras attire. Proceeds from this year’s event will directly support the Victim Advocacy Center. Purchase sponsorships, tickets, ads, or donate to one of the REACH Royalty Teams by going to 

Teams this year include Alicia and Miranda Teague, Ashleigh Holland and Brinkley Culpepper, Ashley Burnett and Julia Johnson, Casey and Kayla Schulte, Jennifer Smathers and Stacy Frazier, and Lindsay Wright and Katy Huscusson. The couple who raises the most money will be crowned as REACH Royalty. 

REACH of Macon County is a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to eradicate domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking crimes in Macon County through prevention, intervention, and educational services. REACH provides comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking, including male, female, and child victims.

Services include a 24-hour crisis hotline and text line, safety planning, crisis counseling, court advocacy, medical accompaniment, support group, and educational services to support victims through the process of physical, mental, and emotional recovery. REACH operates an emergency shelter, which provides food and housing to ensure that victims and their children have a safe place to live when leaving an abusive situation.

In fiscal year 2022, from July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023, REACH provided emergency shelter for 78 children and adults. In total, REACH provided clients with 9,534 meals and 3,178 nights of shelter.

REACH has already served 47 clients this first quarter (July 1-Dec, 31, 2023) with a total of 1,426 nights, which is more than 50% of what was served last year. Additionally, REACH provided domestic violence services to 297 clients (2,441 sessions and 17,216 services); sexual assault services to 148 clients (1,080 sessions and 9,342 services); and, human trafficking services to 29 clients (371 sessions and 2,354 services).

REACH provides critical services to the community and is excited to announce our efforts to build a Victim Advocacy Center. This endeavor was born partially from the development of an innovative approach to local accessibility of forensic examinations. The new Victim Advocacy Center will boast a medical wing, which will house a medical examination room, an interview room, a counseling room, and a private entry and waiting space for victims and their children.

REACH will contract with local nurses who will provide forensic examinations on site (including sexual assault exams and strangulation exams), eliminating the need for victims to travel to Asheville to receive these critical services. In addition to the medical wing, the Victim Advocacy Center will also house a communal food pantry, enhanced security, will be fully ADA accessible, and will offer meeting spaces, which will allow REACH to expand its support groups, psychoeducational classes, and housing programs for victims and survivors.

Contributions can be made to REACH to support direct client services, programs, and their capital campaign by donating online, mailing a check, shopping at the REACH thrift store, or donating items that support the shelter. Items needed include paper products, cleaning supplies, toiletries, feminine hygiene products, and so much more.

If you or someone you know needs assistance or wishes to speak with a trained advocate, call or text the 24/7 hotline at (828) 369-5544.