SKOWHEGAN — The owners and staff at Ken’s Family Restaurant have turned over $5,000 to the Family Violence Project after a successful fundraising campaign in October, national domestic violence awareness month.

Monique Dionne, who with her husband, Randy, owns the restaurant on Madison Avenue, said her staff volunteered their time and the ingredients to make desserts, which were sold at the restaurant for $5 each last month.

The Dionnes matched what was raised from what was sold.

Monique Dionne said that over the past three years, the restaurant has raised $10,000 for the project, which raises awareness of domestic violence issues and advocates for victims.

“That money is unrestricted money, which is huge for our agency,” said Kelly Smith, director of development at the project. “What’s important is that $10,000 over three years provides free services to approximately 1,200 victims of domestic violence, in part because of the money that was donated by Ken’s.”

The Family Violence Project, based in Augusta, served 390 victims of domestic violence in Somerset County last year. In 2014 there were 21 homicides in Maine, 14 of which were related to family violence, Kelly said. Of those 14 victims, eight were children.

Services include court advocacy, child protection, crisis intervention and shelter and transitional housing. Kelly said Maine ranks ninth nationally in domestic violence homicides.

“The numbers aren’t getting smaller, so the work that they do here — this is grass roots work — it’s huge,” Kelly said. “Our state funding keeps getting smaller, our federal dollars keep getting smaller because of state and federal cuts. Our money comes from people like this — community donors.”

Dionne said her staff, some of whom have been with her for 20 years or more, were inspired by the work done by Connie Lambert, a former job coach at the restaurant who later joined the Family Violence Project. She said the fundraisers for the agency are important because the money stays in the community and helps people who live there.

“Everybody wants to help somebody else and it’s easier when we do it as a large group where our customers become part of our group,” Dionne said. “It’s a lot easier to raise $5,000 a couple of bucks at a time. We’re aware of the community that we’re in, and we’re aware of the need and that is on major need.”

The Family Violence Project is a nonprofit agency serving Kennebec and Somerset counties with outreach offices in Skowhegan and Waterville.

Dionne said she has been inspired to help people in her community by American anthropologist and women’s rights advocate Margaret Mead, who said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Ken’s Family Restaurant was opened in Skowhegan by Randy Dionne’s father, Ken, in 1972. Monique and Randy took over the business in 1987.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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