There are those people who think of ways to better their communities with those thoughts slipping away on hopes that someone else will take them up and make them happen. Then there are people like Patti Stafford.
Patti Stafford was one of the original seven women who had become tired ofjust talking about the fact that there were no services in the area for victims of child abuse, family violence, and sexual assault. She studied the subjects and travelled all over Georgia visiting programs, meeting with legislators, talking with potential donors, all on her mission to do nothing less than create an organization that would meet all three victimization areas. In getting Patti’s permission to use her story as a feature for the Annual Campaign, she did make it clear that she would do so only if we named others involved in that early start up of RCPCH. Those would include: Darlene Edmondson, the late Mary Meeler, April Dukes, Ellen Eaton, Gloria Pylant, Diane Huff, Cindy Evers, Ann Monk, Beth Lewis, Paul Bowden, and Tom Carmichael.
To begin a new non-profit is hard work. It is consuming. It takes a strong and driven leader who is working from their heart and soul. Patti Stafford gave herself for years to make this organization come to life. She had a lot of help with the other women who began the process with her and from many community leaders and partners…but there always is that one person needed to take the overall responsibility and that was Patti. The first achievement was provision of equipment to Tift Regional Emergency Department to begin adult sexual assault exams. After the domestic violence prevention program began in 2002, the next goal was a child advocacy center. Patti’s efforts there led to a grand opening of our child advocacy center in August of 2005, with the First Lady of Georgia on hand to help cut the ribbon. Those who knew the work that Patti did to get to this momentous occasion named the center “The Patticake House” in her honor.
She did not stop there. Her final gift came in the form of a special project for children not only served by RCPCH, but those who are in foster care. After seeing how children were having their life’s belongings being carried from place to place in a trash bag, Patti created “Suitcases for Kids”. This community service project began in 2005 and is still carried on today, having served now over 5000 children and youth by providing them a personalized duffel bag with clothing and wish list items each Christmas.
You can honor the legacy of Patti’s work by giving a gift in her name and supporting our July 2021 Annual Campaign. You can donate in Patti’s honor through Venmo (our username is @ruthscottagethepatticakehouse), online (https://stopthehurtga.org/donations), or mail a check to PO Box 2727, Tifton, GA 31793.