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Anti-Trafficking Donor Spotlight

How Ella Funded Freedom for Five People (This Could Be Your Story!)

Dinner table set outside

In a small, rainy Pacific Northwest city, a 25-year-old girl named Ella lived alone with her pet parrot, renting a room above a garage surrounded by tall, damp evergreens and the scent of pine. She loved her city, and her job was to help plan community events—an annual tulip festival, local music festivals, etc. Fun-loving and energetic, she loved her job since she got to meet so many interesting people passing through town. 

One Sunday at church, visiting Love Justice staff presented on the global issue of human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Ella knew about human trafficking already but felt her heart stirring once more. She wasn’t sure what she could do—she didn’t have a lot of money to donate—but she wanted to do something. 

 

Inspired to take action

DALL·E 2024-05-08 17.17.20 - A young woman named Ella, in her mid-20s, sitting at a rustic wooden desk surrounded by event planning materials. She has light brown hair tied back i-2

The topic of trafficking continued to weigh heavily on her mind as she went on with her week. She remembered that the presenters at church had also mentioned a coffee shop a few hours away that supported Love Justice by donating 10% of their profits to them as well as running several community fundraising events. 

A coffee lover herself, she was curious about this coffee shop and searched for it online after work one day. She came across an article about their fundraising efforts—in particular, a “freedom dinner.” The idea was to sell tickets for a dinner party and share about human trafficking, pulling the community together for an evening of fun and delicious food while raising awareness and funds for the cause. 

She felt excitement building in her as she read. Now this was something she could do. 

 

Mobilizing the community

Involved as she was in her community, she had a lot of connections to pull from. 

The first thing she did was reach out to a couple local food vendors who often sold food at community events. One of these vendors, an older woman named Vicky, happened to go to Ella’s church and had heard the presentation too. 

DALL·E 2024-05-09 10.46.30 - An image of an older woman named Vicky, with short gray hair and wearing glasses. She is depicted in a home kitchen setting, wearing an apron over cas-2

“Hey Vicky, remember that presentation on human trafficking at church last week?”

“Oh honey yes, it had me in tears. Those poor children.”

Ella shared her idea for hosting a dinner fundraiser and asked Vicky if she’d be interested in donating some of her excellent cooking. Vicky excitedly agreed. 

Next, Ella asked one of her musician friends, Theo, if he’d be willing to donate an hour of his time to play some acoustic guitar melodies in the background during dinner. 

“Anything for you, Ella,” he said, a sly smile in his eyes. (But that’s another story.) 

She recruited two more good friends to help with the rest of the details—one friend had a big backyard where they could host the dinner—and the three girls pooled things they had lying around to prepare for the dinner. The end result would include a tastefully mismatched selection of dinnerware, tablecloths, candles, and chairs for a kind of boho-style look to it all. 

Then they all reached out to their circles of friends, families, coworkers, churches, etc., and posted about the event on Instagram. Before a week was up, the dinner was sold out with 20 guests! 

 

A beautiful evening

DALL·E 2024-05-09 11.02.24 - A serene outdoor evening scene with a young man named Theo, with short dark hair, playing an acoustic guitar. He is sitting on a wooden stool under st-2

On the evening of the dinner, Vicky helped the girls cook a delightful meal and dessert to serve the guests while Theo played music in the background and stole subtle glances at Ella. (Unfortunately, she didn’t notice.)

There was much laughter and clinking of glasses as the sun cast golden-hour rays across the beautiful table. Not everyone who bought tickets knew each other, and Ella delighted in seeing community form as people forged new friendships. 

Before the end of the dinner, Ella used a projector to show a short video about Love Justice on the side of the house. She shared her heart for fighting injustice and some stories of real people that Love Justice staff found at borders and prevented from being trafficked. She thanked everyone for joining in this cause with her and encouraged them to continue learning more about it and consider making extra donations if they were able to. 

 

Bearing fruit

From hosting this event, Ella raised over $1,000 to donate to Love Justice, which allowed five more people to be intercepted before they could be trafficked. It was far more than she could have given on her own. 

The following month she got an email from one of the attendees thanking her for the dinner, saying that he had been so moved by it all that he and his wife wanted to host a freedom dinner too. 

“That’s wonderful!” she replied. “Let me know if I can help in any way.” 

The email just under that one was a newsletter from Love Justice, sharing the story of a 13-year-old girl from South Asia that staff intercepted at the border after realizing relatives of the girl’s friend intended to sell her in the neighboring country. 

Ella smiled and thought to herself, I got to be a part of helping that little girl stay free. 

 

Now it's your turn!

While inspired by some true events, this story is made up—but we hope it encourages you to get creative with fundraising! There are so many things you can do. Check out our fundraising page to get started, and feel free to reach out with any questions!

 

Get started fundraising

 

*This story is fictional. All data and statistics current at the date and time of publishing. Specific names and locations excluded for privacy and security purposes. Images made using AI.

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