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Participating in the check presentation held for Tyson Food’s donation to the local domestic violence and sexual assault shelter were (from left to right): Charity Tipton, Tiffany Weaver, Jessie Lindberg, J.D. Parker, Denise Davis and Jennifer Sanford.

MONROE — Executive Director of Turning Point Jessie Lindburg doesn’t require eye glasses; however, she felt like she needed a pair to make sure she read a response from Tyson Foods correctly, indicating they would donate $50,000 — double what the nonprofit requested.

The donation, in part, will impact and affect Tyson employees who may need services provided by Turning Point. According to their website, Turning Point is the only organization in Union County that provides emergency resources for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse at no cost to their clients. They assist clients in gaining independence and justice — all within a safe environment.

Chaplain J.D. Parker, with Tyson Foods, was the magnetic force that brought Tyson and Turning Point together. Lindberg said he was like an ambassador for Turning Point when communicating with corporate offices to orchestrate the donation.

Tyson employs 122,000 people across several states and about 1,400 of those are in Union County. Lindberg said of the local employees, about one in four families will need services provided by Turning Point.

The donated money will largely go to building a fence around Turning Point’s property for the safety and privacy of their clients. The money will also go toward paying for direct services, food, utilities and more.

Turning Point has seen an increase in clients since the COVID-19 pandemic, which reached Union County in late winter of 2020. Isolation and economic stress, fear and uncertainty around the pandemic are factors in the increase in the number of clients.

“Once our state opened up, we’re seeing exactly what we knew we were going to see. People are finally able to get out. They’re not under the watchful eye of an abuser who is working remotely so they really can’t leave. They were more freely able to get out,” Lindberg said. She added that as people got vaccinated, there was less fear of going to a place like Turning Point (a congregated shelter) because there was less risk of getting COVID.

They expect to serve more children as the school year begins. Most adolescent clients are victims of sexual abuse, but Lindberg said they’ve seen more children who are victims of physical abuse or who have witnessed violent abuse, including deaths.

Denise Davis, director of domestic violence services, said clients are primarily seeking counseling services in addition to the shelter. The trauma of violence clients experience is in addition to the depression and anxiety that is exacerbated during global crises like the COVID pandemic.

“I think the fact that [Parker] within that Tyson Company is getting that word out to his staff and the workers and corporate — but what it is, is these victims know that he’s the safe place and so they are going to him and you really don’t see that in companies. He’s making sure … he knows where to get them help and he makes sure they get referred to us, which is pretty phenomenal,” Davis said, when talking about how domestic violence is a taboo topic in most places, including the workforce, and how many victims are reluctant to share about the abuse they’ve experienced because it may require them to reveal details they consider embarrassing.

Tiffany Weaver, finance director of Turning Point, said the donation was “incredible,” because each year they plan a budget and have to anticipate the amount of clients they will serve; however, COVID changed all of that which meant more of a financial demand on the organization. She said the donation “means the world” to Turning Point.