WATCH | ‘Over the Edge’: Jackson House seeks recruits for fundraiser

Jackson House Crisis Intervention Inc. will be hosting its second annual Over The Edge benefit on Oct. 20-21 at the old Bank of America building at the corner of Exchange and Court streets. - Photo by Donald Cross of The Sentinel-Record

Jackson House Crisis Intervention Inc. is looking for "hometown heroes" to go "Over The Edge" to benefit the charitable organization Oct. 20-21.

This is the second year Jackson House has held the event, which will take place at the former Bank of America building at the corner of Exchange and Court streets in downtown Hot Springs.

"That probably helps me with about a third, maybe, of the food cost," Janie Smith, executive director of Jackson House, said of the approximate $48,000 raised last year. "When you think about my buying power, as a nonprofit of course I don't pay taxes, but also through the local food bank, through Project HOPE, I'm able to for every dollar, I can get between one and five or six cans of food for that or pounds of meat.

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"Through the food bank in Little Rock it's the same way, the Arkansas Food Bank, so I'm able to take a dollar that you and I would spend differently at the grocer for what we can do what Jackson House I can double, triple, quadruple that."

There are a few changes to the event this year, including its being moved to October instead of September.

"We moved it a little bit later into the year by about a month because it was rather warm last year," Smith said. "Of course, it's kind of warm right now, but we're hoping that by Oct. 20 and 21, it will cool off at least a little bit."

There will also be a "chicken coop" for those who are afraid to rappel the 75 feet down the side of the building.

"We have a chicken coop, which is also new," Smith said.

"So people that want to donate and want to come out and see it, they just want to come out and have some fun, we have a chicken coop where they can get their picture in the chicken coop.

"I will be in the chicken coop because there's no way that I have the guts to go over the edge. I kind of have a fear of heights, but I've had several people that were afraid of heights that went over the edge and they said it was just wonderful."

Diablo's Tacos & Mezcal will also host a VIP event for participants, Smith said.

"They're in the front of the building, but they've been just really super, letting us use their facilities," she said. "And they have a party room that they're going to let us hold the VIP, and they're sponsoring that party as well. So it'll be a good time."

Participants will also have their photos taken while descending from the building and videos, Smith said, noting participants can even take their own photos and videos while on the way down.

"A lot of people will be videoing, and you'll get your picture made by a professional that's donating his time as you're going over, so you'll have some keepsake photos, as well as anything that you or your friends take. So it's a great deal of fun," she said, noting several participants last year used GoPros or other personal action cameras while rappelling.

Smith said the need for donations is significant, and all proceeds from the event will go toward their food programs.

"I think it's obvious with the economy and the cost of foods and other things have gone up so high that there are a lot of people that used to donate to us that are now coming and asking us for help," she said.

"So there's been a pretty good flip on that, and we need donations in order to help meet their needs, to meet the community's needs. I know that every day for the last couple months we've had 200 or more come for lunch, and we're doing that six days a week, Monday through Saturday. There's a lot of need out there just in our community."

Regardless of whether someone decides to participate in the event or not, Smith said the holidays are getting closer, and the need is great.

"I do hope that people, even if they don't go 'Over The Edge,' that they do remember this is the time of year (that) we've just come through summer and the kids are back in school now, which is helpful as far as food goes, but we do have the holidays coming," she said.

"We have a lot that we have to give to our community through that time.

"So donate, donate. Go to our website,, or you can run by or mail us a check, 705 Malvern Ave., Hot Springs, 71901. We're here. We've been here for over 45 years now serving our community."

To register to go Over The Edge or to donate to someone's campaign, visit and click on the link for Over The Edge.

  photo  Jackson House Crisis Intervention Inc. Executive Director Janie Smith discusses the Over The Edge fundraiser the organization is holding Oct. 20-21 at the old Bank of America building at the corner of Exchange and Court streets. - Photo by Donald Cross of The Sentinel-Record