ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — April is Child Abuse Awareness Month, and Children’s Home and Aid, at 424 7th Street in Rockford, is hoping to bring attention to it in the community.

The non-profit is collecting basic items for infants and children, up to 7 years old, by stuffing a bus with donations.

Children’s Home and Aid serves over 30,000 families and children throughout the state of Illinois.

“What we know is that when families are supported and families have their basic needs met what they are able to do then is thrive and thriving families create thriving communities,” said Jeannie Higdon, program manager.

Stephanie Caltagerone, the family support services supervisor for Mother House Crisis Nursery and Rockford Dual, says being a parent is a hard job, and the community can help prevent child abuse by helping to support families in crisis.

“[We] encourage families to sort of vent their frustrations get some breaks here and there, so that they never get to a point where we see children getting hurt,” she said. “Setting a good foundation, even before their children are born, that we can avoid some of those separations that happen over time, children being removed and spending time in foster care.”

Experts encourage others to be a “safe person” that an abused child can turn to.

“Just really being that safe person that families can connect to, or children can trust, that is probably the most basic thing you can do, just be somebody safe for a child to be able to connect with,” Higdon said.