FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — For most, the sight of a candy cane reminds them of happy holiday memories. But this year, it’s bringing more joy to the community thanks to the Candy Cane Wishes fundraiser hosted by Black Diamond Grill, 1485 Peachtree Parkway.
Restaurant patrons buy a candy cane for $2, and all proceeds go to Family Haven, a nonprofit that provides services to those impacted by domestic violence in Forsyth and North Fulton counties.
Jackie Allen, who does marketing for Black Diamond, said they chose Family Haven because of the people they serve.
“It is important to us particularly due to the children involved,” Allen said. “Domestic violence is something nobody wants to tolerate, but a lot of people do at certain points in their lives. If we can put a little bit of a dent in it and help Family Haven, we’ll do it.”
In addition to the candy canes, the restaurant is accepting donations of socks and underwear as well as toys. However they’ll take any donations. The goal is to raise $800 with about $350 in the till so far. The drive continues through Dec. 28.
Family Haven Executive Director Shandra Dawkins said they receive more calls over the holidays.
“The abusers are more stressed out, kids are home for the holidays, there isn’t enough money to go around, and expectations are at an all-time high,” Dawkins said. “Just creating more public awareness about Family Haven and the services is great for us. Candy Cane Wishes is more than just financial contributions, but getting the word out about something really important.”
Dawkins said she hopes the public outreach may help victims by showing there is someone to assist them, including local businesses and the community.
“So often, those victims are silenced or don’t know what the resources are,” Dawkins said. “By coming here and (seeing) Family Haven’s name is in front of them and will support them, it’ll give them more courage and support knowing there are other people who know it’s not right to abuse.”
The request for socks and underwear may be odd to some, Dawkins said, but it’s a necessity year round.
“When it’s the holiday season, individuals are more apt to give toys because it makes them feel really good also,” Dawkins said. “But domestic violence happens 365 days a year. We run out of underwear and socks because a lot of times the women only have the clothes on their backs. At the end of the year, our containers are low and those things are important.”
Even gift cards are needed constantly, she said, to help the clients fulfill special dietary needs or items needed for moving into a new home.
“If they’re in the shelter and haven’t had time to spend with their children due to the chaos at home, we can give them gift cards to McDonald’s and movie theater tickets,” Dawkins said. “They can do something together that’s positive versus the chaos. We can utilize that and make it Christmas 365 days of the year.”