Faithful Love has taken up the charge to confront the unthinkable. The Brunswick-based nonprofit works to aid victims of sex trafficking and prostitution, helping women find their way out of a cycle of abuse and trauma.
Haleigh Welch, development coordinator for Faithful Love, says it’s a serious problem in this very community.
“It’s a reality for our community. There’s a lot of it going on in both the younger and adult populations. We work with women 18 and up ... and a lot of these women have been trafficked their whole lives,” she said. “We come in to wrap support around them. We’re ready to offer them support when they make the decision to leave their situation. We connect them with services and programs that can help them long term.”
Those services include helping them recover their identities, not only in the emotional sense but in literal terms, as well. Many traffickers steal their victims’ drivers licenses or IDs, rendering them unable to register for programs that might help them find a way out. Once they have a new identification card, Faithful Love can help link them to financial aid and counseling services.
“We help them with signing up for food stamps. We also help them with mental health services. We work with Gateway locally and also with a program called Out of Darkness in Atlanta, which is the program that we modeled ours after,” Welch said.
Of course, providing basic funding for these programs takes money. And like so many charities, that’s been even more difficult to come by during the pandemic. But the organization is hopeful that an upcoming event will help them continue their mission. Faithful Love will host a Mother’s Day Flower Workshop from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 8 at The Chapel’s Treehouse, 114 Harris Farm Road, Brunswick. There, participants will create stunning bouquets to give to their moms the following day.
Welch says that they are excited for their very first fundraiser.
“We have several amazing sponsors who are helping us. Of course, the Chapel is letting us use their youth space. Merci Bouquet Flower Truck is providing the feature flowers for the arrangements. Branch and Bloom, a small event design business, is leading the workshop. Dulce Dough is providing mini donuts and Wake Up Coffee is supplying the coffee,” she said. “It should be really fun.”
Older kids can tackle the arrangements on their own, but smaller children may need some parental assistance. There will also be a separate event for the littlest littles, Welch adds.
“I think older kids are our target audience ... the ones that can safely use scissors,” she said with a laugh. “They can come out and make the arrangement with their mom or with their dad and surprise mom the next day. We will also have we have a kids’ craft for those who are really young. There will be volunteers to help them.”
The workshop is $30 with $5 for the kids’ craft. Welch promises that participants will walk away with a meaningful token for Mother’s Day.
“Each of the arrangements will feature ranunculus, anemone or sunflower. So when you go to Eventbrite you can buy your ticket and that will reserve your flower bundle. It will be ready when you come. There will be two time slots 10 to 11:30 a.m. or noon to 1:30 p.m.,” she said. “Judi Ricco, our director, will share a short presentation about what Faithful Love is and what their support with provide through our mission.”
In addition to the fundraiser, Faithful Love also organized a giveaway that’s being promoted across their social media channels.
The prizes, which total more than $300, include gift cards ranging from dinners to spray tans to custom portraits. The drawing will be held Saturday, also the last day to purchase the workshop tickets. To enter, follow Faithful Love’s social media channels and share the giveaway post. Then, tag three friends in the same post and “like” it.
For those who are unable to attend, there’s another option. They can purchase an arrangement through Branch and Bloom by emailing email@example.com. Or if donating to the cause is the primary goal, they may mail a check to Faithful Love, 1700 Frederica Road, Suite 304, St. Simons Island, GA 31522.
Of course, Welch notes that they welcome those who want to get directly involved by volunteering.
“We have a day home in Brunswick where we provide services like picking women up and transporting them to our house. We offer them food, a shower and a place to do their laundry. We can help them with counseling needs. In the pre-COVID days we were open three days a week and now we’re trying to get back there,” she said. “We also have different outreach missions. For more information on that, they can email Judi at firstname.lastname@example.org. She manages the volunteers.”
Welch says the group is excited about the engagement and the sweeping support they’ve received.
“I’m just floored by the community support we receive,” she said.
“The sponsors have all just really stepped up for the event and for the giveaway. We are just so grateful.”