/templates/photos/stephanie.pngMy husband and I began supporting CAST this Fall, although we have known about the great work CAST is doing in Los Angeles for much longer. We were not only drawn to the issue but believe deeply in CAST’s mission to restore the dignity and human rights of individuals who have experienced the unthinkable. I have found overwhelmingly, that most people I’ve met are generous and want to make a positive difference in the world.

Since I have been volunteering for CAST, it has been encouraging this holiday season to have two particular church groups, one in central Texas and the other in the Los Angeles area, who have felt inspired to focus their collective giving in December on survivors of human trafficking. Through our outreach, representatives from each church contacted CAST and were given a needs-list of items for survivors living on their own and in the CAST shelter.

The list comprised things as inexpensive and simple as toiletries to larger items such as mattresses and furniture. Each church started the campaign the first Sunday of December, and the response has been so great in the first few weeks that pledges for most of the items have been made! The amazing thing about online-ordering is that people as far away as Texas can give tangible items such as jackets, cookware, and even mattresses to real people who continue to struggle to rebuild their lives after their nightmare. Many youth from the Los Angeles area church are getting involved in fund-raising by making jewelry to sell to their friends and family. It has been a complete and holistic effort involving all age-groups in the church and the benefits to the survivors are exponentially greater than the financial cost of the donated items. These stories only highlight a few ways that I have seen people help survivors of trafficking this holiday season.

As a CAST volunteer, I know that every member of the CAST team is continually grateful for the individual and collective efforts made on behalf of the survivors. We are also encouraged by the countless pledges made that will support the ongoing efforts of CAST to advocate for survivors and to provide them with critical legal and social services. I’m both proud and thankful of my community for helping CAST and making a difference in the lives of the survivors they serve.

For more information please visit www.castla.org. To donate, please contact us at info@castla.org or visit our webpage where you can make a secure online donation. Thank you, and may you all have a wonderful holiday season!

Stephanie, CAST Volunteer