Gloria Duryea said ignorance has taken at least six children from the arms of their parents who live in the Lowcountry. The Child Abuse Prevention Association is working to prevent future deaths through education.
"In the last two years, we have buried at least six children to preventable deaths such as co-sleeping or suffocation, to include rollover deaths from co-sleeping," said Duryea, community relations coordinator for CAPA and board member of the Exchange Club of Beaufort.
The club, a volunteer-driven service organization, organizes several youth projects.
Through one of its new outreach programs, Cribs for Kids, CAPA recently gave out its seventh crib and educational information to new parents last week.
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CAPA's Open Arms Shelter, which serves Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, Allendale and Colleton counties, is seeing more children for longer periods than in previous years.
"Every five hours, a child dies of abuse in the United States, and that rings true here," Duryea said. "We are not immune to child abuse and neglect problems. They happen right here in our neighborhood and communities. ... We are seeing increases in enrollment in parenting classes, and we have also having record number of attendees at parent support groups."
Despite the increased demand for its services, the economic downturn has left the association short-staffed. But some help is on the way.
The Exchange Club will hold its 24th annual auction -- its biggest fundraiser of the year -- to benefit CAPA at 6 p.m. Saturday at The Shed in Port Royal. The silent auction begins at 6 p.m., and the live auction is at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 a person and may be purchased at the door or by calling 843-524-4350. Light refreshments will be served, with beer and wine available.
Items for this year's auctions include vacations, tickets to sporting events, furniture, luggage and works by local artists. All money raised benefits CAPA.
"This is our largest fundraiser," Duryea said. "This plays a huge role in ensuring our programs will continue to be offered."