SHPD’s annual pinwheel sale to fight child abuse

Benny Westcott

April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month, and the Sweet Home Police Department will hold its annual Pinwheels For Prevention at 10 a.m. on April 10 in front of the Police Department to raise awareness about child abuse.

Jenny Gilmore-Robinson, director of the ABC House, a child abuse intervention center in Albany serving Benton and Linn counties, will speak, and then blue and silver pinwheels will be planted in the flowerbed outside of the police department.

Participants will march against child abuse, on Main Street down to 15th Avenue, then turn around and march on the south side of Main Street to 18th Avenue. Attendees will finish the march by walking to the police station on the north side of Main Street. Hot dogs donated by Thriftway will be offered at the march’s endpoint.

Pinwheels can be purchased from the police department at $1 apiece. All proceeds from the pinwheel purchases will go to ABC House in Albany.

“They talk with the kids, they work with the children, when there’s been reports or concerns of abuse,” said Sweet Home’s Community Service Officer Sean Morgan of the ABC House. “They support the children and their families.”

Morgan said the pinwheels will be put out “to raise awareness about child abuse, and to encourage people to report it, watch for it, and keep a wary eye out for it.”

“We encourage businesses and residents to buy these pinwheels and put them up, and show support for children who’ve faced abuse and neglect,” Morgan said. “We’d like to see pinwheels all up and down Main Street if possible.”

The event has been held annually since 2014, but was not held last year due to COVID.

The total number of Sweet Home children served by ABC House in 2020 is up 12% compared to 2019, from 49 children to 55. This increase comes despite the fact that the total number of Linn County children served by ABC House in 2020 is down from 2019, with 482 children served in 2020 compared to 515 served in 2019.

The ABC House provided 23 medical exams, 19 forensic interviews, 20 suspicious physical injury consultations, services for nine drug-endangered children, and medical consultations to five Sweet Home children in 2020.

The median age for reported abuse to the ABC House is 9.

For more information on reporting child abuse or neglect in the state of Oregon, the ABC House suggests visiting the Oregon Department of Human Services website.