Contact of Burlington County celebrates 50th anniversary

Fundraiser supports nonprofit’s assistance to community

CHRISTINE HARKINSON/The Sun: Contact of Burlington County’s 50th anniversary was celebrated with A Night in Las Vegas at the township’s Community House.

Contact of Burlington County celebrated its 50th anniversary with A Night in Las Vegas at the Community House of Moorestown on Oct. 27.

According to its website, the nonprofit meets the needs of individuals by offering confidential crisis helpline and sexual violence services, and its vision is to provide access to emotional support and community resources to anyone at any time.

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“ … A few years back, through Burlington County’s Human Services, we did a suicide prevention walk, which Contact was supportive and instrumental in beginning that and working with different agencies,” said Kathy Hiltner, board president. “ … It was actually started because my son committed suicide eight years ago … 

“My big thing that I wanted to get out to people that have lost a loved one to suicide is that there’s nothing to be ashamed about, and you need to talk about it and (that) you’re not alone,” she added. “Because of that stigma, I think many people feel very much alone, because they don’t feel like they can actually talk about it.”

A Night in Las Vegas – Contact’s first in-person event post COVID – supports the free and confidential assistance the nonprofit provides in the community. It featured entertainer John Monforto.

“ … He’ll provide such a variety of entertainment that you can’t not have a good time …” Hiltner noted. “We’ve had great support from the community for this event as well.”

Contact is the responder in Burlington County for both the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. Hiltner shared what she would like others to know about the nonprofit that has special meaning.

“ … I worked for Contact as their information and referral director, and I was fortunate to go through the training that they offer to their phone workers,” she recalled. “ … Actually going through that training process, one never knows what the future holds, and certainly when my son committed suicide, there was that connection there with Contact because they’re there to answer the phone to help people through those difficult times.”

“Contact is there for all members of the community,” Hiltner added. “It is a free service that is provided if you’ve lost a loved one to suicide. You can call 988, and they’ll be a compassionate listener for you, as well as (provide) intervention through that phone call.”

“ … Sometimes I look at Contact to be the agency that nobody wants to know about until they have a crisis or a situation in their life, and Contact is there for them.”

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