Voices 4 Victims, an organization that advocates for children who have been physically or sexually abused are putting in the work to support these young victims.
The group held a Christmas party in Sandusky on Saturday to bring awareness to the issue and to help support their toy drive.
The group says child victims of abuse need people who will stand up for them, especially right now, around the holidays, when they may not have anyone to turn to.
"It's the ugly situation that not everybody wants to talk about. But somebody's out there and somebody needs to be heard," said Lisa Lauro, founder for Voices 4 Victims.
On Saturday, they met at the Rockin' Horse Ranch in Sandusky to further support these young victims.
"Year-round they support children that are neglected and abused. But especially at Christmas time. It's just very heartwarming to see everyone donate the gifts and bring smiles to the kid's faces that would not otherwise have a Christmas," said Julie Roeder, the owner of Rockin' Horse Ranch.
Over the last year and a half, with the restrictions put in place due to the pandemic, Voices 4 Victims has had to find other ways to help the children.
"We try to go to court when we can go to court. Thanks to COVID, unfortunately, we can't right now go to court all the time but we do have social media. And thanks to social media we can let them reach out through that way," said Lauro.
Lauro says she can relate to the children because she was once a victim of abuse herself.
And sometimes all they need is a hug, an opportunity to be heard, or a small gift during the holidays, something Roeder was happy to be a part of.
"It's hard to figure out a way to, to help people. And this is a good way. They make it easy to do the toy drive and for everyone to bring in the toys and help the kids," said Roeder.
Lauro says the holidays are a time when children need to know they aren't forgotten and someone does care.
"It's hard. This time of year everybody is missing something. This is when everybody is supposed to be together. This is when family, and this is when everyone shows their love and concern. And unfortunately, some of these children aren't feeling that love and that concern and they're heartbroken," said Lauro.
And that's where Voices for Victims steps in.
The group has collection boxes throughout Ottawa and Sandusky Counties, including at these locations:
- Happy Hooker Outdoors, Oak Harbor
- Erie Social Shuffleboard Club, Marblehead
- Puckett’s Pups, Marblehead
- Key Realty, Gibsonburg
- The Past and Present Emporium, Fremont
- Gilbert’s Place and Great Lakes Ace, Bellevue
- Great Lakes Ace, Clyde
You can also donate to the organization by visiting their social media sites.