If chef Jamie Keating had tattoos, he’d get “nonprofit” or “charity” written on his back.
“I love raising money for a good cause — and there’s nothing like feeding folks at the same time,” Keating said.
He’ll get his utensils out again on Thursday for a fundraiser for Hope Harbour and the Columbus Alliance for Battered Women.
The cooking demonstration will be at RiverMill Event Centre on First Avenue, where Keating holds such demonstrations for charity about once a month.
Prevention of domestic violence is a cause somewhat dear to him. His wife, Melissa, is a past board member of the battered women’s alliance in LaGrange.
While domestic violence has been around for ages — and most typically, it’s male on female — the sluggish economy doesn’t help matters at home. An already contentious relationship gets stressed even more when money is scarce, statistics show.
“During the summer we’ve been almost full, almost at capacity, with 20 children,” said Diane Sinkule Hett, executive director of Hope Harbour.
“It’s harder for victims to get jobs and they’re staying in shelters longer. We want them to stay as long as they need. There’s no time limit.”
One woman and her children have been at the local shelter nine months.
“The mom was pregnant when she came to us, and she couldn’t get employment,” Hett said. “Imagine trying to find employment and day care.”
The shelter’s location is not made public, for obvious reasons.
Hett said the alliance has never done a fundraiser such as the demonstration Keating will lead next week.
Georgia ranks No. 1 in the nation in Teen Dating Violence. And Georgia ranks 15th in incidents where men kill women in single-victim homicides.
In 2008, there were 53 documented family violence fatalities, and 57,024 documented family violence criminal incidents in Georgia. Further, one in four women will experience domestic violence in her life; and intimate partner violence costs more than $5.8 million a year, according to statistics from the local alliance.
Recent tragedies involving domestic violence include the case of Kinaya Byrd of Stockbridge, Ga., an educator who was allegedly stabbed by her fiance in February; Shelley Dunn, allegedly killed by her husband in a north Georgia Wal-Mart parking lot in February; and Rajaan Bennett, who signed with Vanderbilt to play football this year but then was allegedly killed by his mother’s ex-boyfriend in Powder Springs, Ga.
“These are only some of the recent losses to our state,” Juvenile Court Judge Michael Key said at a state meeting where domestic violence fatality reports were given. “These lives have been cut short by unnecessary and preventable acts of violence. We must do more to stop this.”
“I’m sure you want to talk about Rajaan on the football field, but I promise he’s a better person than he is a player,” coach Kyle Hockman told ESPN.com when Bennett signed with Vanderbilt. “He has a great head on his shoulders, a guy that has been the man in his household for quite a while, yet still worked to maintain a solid GPA in class and become such a great player.” Hett said Hope Harbour is one of the few shelters that accepts teenage boys.
Allison Kennedy, reporter, can be reached at 706-576-6237.