Local television personalities Margot Kim and Graciela Moreno host the 34th annual Top Ten Professional Women event in Fresno in 2018. MMC photo
Written by Breanna Hardy
Fundraising in a pandemic looks a little different for Marjaree Mason Center. Instead of the domestic violence shelter’s usual birthday soiree, which honors the late Marjaree Mason, it will host a drive-thru dinner on March 25.
The Men’s Leadership Council will co-host Marjaree’s Birthday Drive-Thru Crab and Brew event to fund its critical services.
The Mason family is helping with the event as well.
“We don’t want to ever forget where or how we came to be,” said Charity Susnick, director of development and communications for the Marjaree Mason Center.
Along with their emergency residential program, the shelter offers several nonresidential services to victims. The center provided services to more than 8,500 adults and children in 2020 alone. It saw a 13% increase from 2019 and a 25% from 2018.
The Fresno Safe House has 40 rooms and 134 beds. The Clovis Transitional House has seven rooms and 24 beds. But the amount of families served is increasing.
During Covid-19, those in the residential program rose to a maximum of 70 – above pre-Covid capacity due to an increase in domestic violence. The increase in residents is due to the effects of job loss and social isolation. The shelter is also finding that when victims arrive at the shelter, their trauma is more severe, requiring a longer stay.
According to Fresno Police Lt. Rob Beckwith, there has been a 148% increase in domestic violence in the City of Fresno. Fresno has the highest rate of domestic violence calls to police in the state.
Marjaree Mason Center is Fresno County’s only dedicated provider of domestic violence shelter and support services. The tragedy of Marjaree Mason’s death over 40 years ago led to her legacy of supporting adults and children impacted by domestic violence. This year, Mason would have been 79.
To support the shelter, ticket purchases include a take-home crab dinner to be picked up at Bulldog Stadium Red Lot on the corner of Cedar and Barstow avenues. Proceeds benefit the domestic violence emergency and supportive services provided by the Marjaree Mason Center.
Tickets can be purchased at mmcenter.org and are available until March 21.