FARMINGTON — Jessica Dorr, a community educator for the Abused Women’s Advocacy Project, sees victims who feel shame.

She and the agency seek to bring more community awareness because domestic abuse is happening on a large scale, she said. She wants to see a coordinated community effort where agencies and people help to resolve the problem.

From that aim came an idea for a community cookout hosted by AWAP and offered in cooperation with law enforcement officers from all over Franklin County.

The community cookout is planned from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26, in Abbott Park, off the Intervale Road, on the campus of the University of Maine at Farmington.

At least one police officer will help cook lunch for local businesses, and residents and will deliver meals to downtown businesses that order in advance.

Plates include a hamburger, hot dog, chips, Homestead Bakery brownie and a beverage for $7. Proceeds will be used to support victims and survivors of domestic abuse in the community.

The park will also offer an opportunity for some fun activities for children, and residents are invited to bring a picnic blanket. A free drawing for a great prize will also be held.

“It’s not all about fundraising but increasing awareness through a community event,” Dorr said.

Sometimes the process of getting help from agencies or law enforcement can be scary. Working together, they hope to dispel that and let people know it is safe, she said.

“There are officers in our community who are invested and dedicated to ending domestic violence,” she said. “There is also hope beyond the violence.”

During events like this there are always women who step forward and admit that the help they received was an integral part of their starting a new life. It empowered them to make other choices.

“It happens to a lot of people but there is hope and healing can take place,” she said.

Statistics only show a small percentage and not always the full story of what’s happening. There’s a large percentage of men and children that are affected, she said.

AWAP, a domestic violence agency, serves people in Franklin, Oxford and Androscoggin counties. Along with support and advocacy for individuals and families experiencing domestic violence, the agency provides educational presentations to build awareness.

AWAP hopes this event will help victims and survivors become aware of the resources available in the community, provide an opportunity for people to support those who have been affected by domestic violence and demonstrate their commitment to ending domestic violence, she said.

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