First Step in need of donations from community

Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 10:32 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - First Step in Wichita falls is providing safety and healing to victims of family violence and sexual assault. Since the pandemic began, the number of those needing help from the nonprofit has only gone up.

With the increase in victims comes the need for more items and funding. They are asking for more volunteers and donations from the community so they can continue to keep services free and confidential.

“It’s worth what you see to know that you’re making a difference in people’s lives,” Michelle Turnbow, executive director of First Step Inc., said.

Sexual violence affects millions. According to, an American falls victim to sexual assault every 68 seconds.

“Victims of sexual assault and DV [domestic violence] will have scars forever,” Turnbow said. “We’re not here to take those completely away, we’re just here to show them that there is a support system for them. They’re not alone and we are here and we understand what they’re going through and almost at any time there’s someone in this agency that’s either been sexual assaulted, human trafficking, domestic violence, a child that’s been exposed, we’ve got it all that work here.”

First Step in Wichita falls is a nonprofit agency that provides free services to victims of family violence and sexual assault.

“We’ve had a big rise in our numbers as far as people reaching out for help”, Mackenzie Spelawn, outreach manager of First Step Inc., said. “We do normally take around over 400 victims a year reach out to seek help with us and that’s just Wichita and the surrounding areas.”

First Step is in dire need of donations as their safehouse has been full for the majority of this year.

“Anything that you think that you would need for your house, just multiply that by 35 and that’s what we need,” Spelawn said. “That’s what it takes to keep our house running.”

First Step would like to remind the community that a little donation could go a long way.

“If one person or 10 people donate $5 that could help one family get a roof over their head safely for the night,” Spelawn said.

While they say financial donations are the most helpful, they can always use household items.

“We have to do this together in order to truly impact our community and our youth and the generation,” Turnbow said. “These are our friends, our neighbors, our church members, people that live on our streets that we work next to you. Know we owe to each other to stand up and say no more.”

If you would like more information on volunteering or donating you can click here or if you know someone who has fallen victim, they have a 24-hour crisis hotline at 1-800-658-2683.

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