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Task Force displays new sign

A new sign can be seen by passersby as they travel past the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Luverne and Mattie's Restaurant on South Forest Avenue.

The new billboard, which displays a 24-hour domestic violence crisis line number, was funded by the Crenshaw County Domestic Violence Task Force and the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence, according to Ann Tate, chairperson for the Crenshaw County Domestic Violence Task Force. The space for the new billboard was donated by Jerry Armstrong of Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Luverne. The billboard itself was created by DSA Graphics of Luverne.

&#8220The idea for a billboard with a hotline number on it first came to us in 2004 whenever the Domestic Violence Task Force was first established,” Tate said. &#8220We first looked for the traditional billboard space along any county highways, but the task force just couldn't afford the cost of the billboard space.”

Tate said that the present billboard was created using donated funds.

&#8220We can't thank Jerry Armstrong and Pepsi-Cola enough for allowing us to use that space on their fence to hang the billboard,” Tate said.

The billboard itself contains the domestic violence crisis line, which is 1-800-650-6522. That number will connect people in need with a local domestic violence shelter program that can assist them with emergency housing, crisis counseling, advocacy, referrals, information and support. It also reminds everyone that if they are in immediate danger, they should call the police or sheriff's department or dial 911.

Tate said that oftentimes, people may not even realize what real domestic violence is. She said that it is &#8220a deliberate pattern of physical, mental, sexual or emotional abuse in an intimate relationship.”

&#8220Anytime you have one person trying to use abusive tactics to gain power and control over someone else, no matter what the relationship may be, that is abuse, and it can affect every part of the victim's life,” Tate said.

The Crenshaw County Domestic Task Force is currently involved in three projects. The first project includes the collection of cell phones and chargers which can be distributed to clients of the Family Sunshine Center so they can have a way to get help if they need it. Collection sites in Crenshaw County are the Dept. of Human Resources, the County Health Dept., the Circuit Clerk's Office at the Courthouse, and the Luverne Housing Authority.

The second project includes providing for the needs of the women and children who are housed at the shelter of the Family Sunshine Center. Tate said that a list of the items needed can be supplied to anyone who is interested in helping.

The Domestic Violence Task Force also collects household furnishings and toys for victims. Donations are tax deductible, and interested persons are encouraged to consider giving new or good used furniture, toys and household items such as appliances and dishes to this cause. However, Tate said that they are not equipped to accept clothing. For more information about donations, please contact Kathy Senn at 335-5164 or Selena Fowler at 335-2471.