April is Missing Persons Awareness Month in Wisconsin, and to educate the public on the issue, the Wisconsin Missing Persons Advocacy hosted the 5th Annual Missing Persons Awareness Event at the Brown County Sheriff’s Office Saturday afternoon.

“Our mission is to bring a voice to the missing and support the families who are affected, and raise awareness through events like today’s,” said founder and president Marsha Loritz. “Awareness brings prevention.”

It’s an issue that’s personal to Loritz. Her mother has been missing for six years.

“April 25th, 2013, my mom went missing,” she said. “It was devastating and I didn’t know where to turn… I came across other people that were in this same situation in other states, and I drew support from those families, and that’s what caused me to then reach out and start raising awareness for other families.”

In addition to educational and fundraising components, Saturday’s event was decorated with the photos of hundreds of missing Wisconsinites.

“The families find themselves in a situation that no one else can understand, and it’s a very lonely place to be, and you don’t know where to reach for help,” Loritz said. “Days like today where the community can come together and show their support to them means so much, and it really carries us through our difficult days.”

Loritz says there’s one simple thing people can do that may be the key to helping find Wisconsinites who are missing.

“If a missing person’s poster crosses your path on social media, share it,” she said. “It takes two seconds to share, but if you look at that poster, you just might be the person that can bring an answer to a family.”

More information on Wisconsin Missing Persons Advocacy can be found here.