My name is Kelli Townsend, and I joined the Lighthouse for Life volunteer team last fall. Volunteering and serving others has always been a part of me. After moving to the area, I was patient and waited until I felt led to serve somewhere. Everything seemed to fall into place, and I could see God’s hands unfolding everything to me. In October, I went online to sign up with Lighthouse for Life and, within a few days, I was asked to oversee the freedom bags ministry. After talking with my husband and praying, we knew it was for me. Excited and anxious to tackle this job, I started thinking, what really is a freedom bag?
The word freedom brings different things to mind such as the American flag or choosing where to shop and what to eat. Perhaps, freedom is a teenager finally getting a driver’s license. Many images came to my mind with the word “freedom”, but I thought, what could a bag of freedom look and feel like? I honestly couldn’t answer that because I’d never been on the receiving end. I could only imagine.
After a few months of diving into this project, hours of organizing and sorting through our current bags, I have learned a few things. The basic, mundane things that we take for granted fill these bags. It’s not about having the most glamorous bag or best smelling soap. It’s simply a bit of hope and love we can share with someone in need. My heart is sad when I think about the situation some of the young women and men face who are involved with human trafficking, and it makes me want to fight harder and do more.
Since joining, I’ve established great relationships with the community. Some of these relationships include the Lexington EMS who now have freedom bags in their QVR trucks, the Free Medical Clinic and the Children’s Advocacy Center. The support we are receiving from the community is outstanding, and my goal is to spread the word and help as many as we can.
The greatest needs, right now, are more people that can be a voice in the community to help distribute bags where they are needed. If you are interested in helping in this aspect of Lighthouse for Life, please contact me.
My goal for the year is to develop a more streamlined, efficient process. Currently, I am working on downsizing some of the bags, updating the item list and establishing a better communication system with organizations and gathering feedback. We currently have 55 bags in stock and have distributed 50 bags since I joined the team.
I ask for your prayers, your patience and continued support to help keep this ministry alive. I believe it can truly bless many.
Freedom Bag Coordinator
Karis Home Update
Last Sunday, our caregivers moved into Karis Home and are beginning to make it truly feel like a home. When I visited yesterday, we stacked firewood on the porch, there was the aroma of dinner in the crockpot, pictures were being hung on the walls and everywhere I looked were signs of a home.
We have been told that the repairs from the pipes breaking should be complete by the 24th and are hopeful that we can have DSS come do their final inspection the following week. Once that is complete, there should be nothing hindering us from opening our doors to our first resident.
Please continue in prayer with us, that March will mark the beginning of a new chapter in a victims life!
Monthly Income: January Income: $70,092.73
Monthly Expenses: January Expenses: $33,619.08
Estimated Monthly Budget Needed to Open: $35,000
Regular Monthly Support: $12,129
Breakdown of Monthly Support
11 Businesses: $3,650
14 Church Groups: $4,200
123 Individuals: $4,279
ONLY 3 WEEKS AWAY!
March 10 - our 3rd Annual Run For Her Life 5K
Over the past couple of years, we have had lots of fun as runners, walkers, strollers and puppies have all come together in a family fun atmosphere to support the victims of human trafficking in South Carolina.
This year, we are going to add a twist by making it a glow runstarting at 7pm.
We were honored to be a part of ABC's Good Morning Columbia show late January. You can watch the report here.
School Districts are joining the fight against human trafficking. Richland District 2 recently partnered with the Sherrif's department to warn parents of suspects soliciting minors for sex acts locally. Read more about it here, and help us continue to raise awareness against this crime.
South Carolina News
"I was in an abusive relationship and went to Maryland to get away from that situation…that's when I met him,” said Beth.
Beth thought a trip with friends would help her escape a bad situation at home, but a chance encounter outside of her hotel room would set the wheels in motion for months of misery. ... Beth was trafficked up the east coast from Maryland to Florida to Charleston."
To read the rest of Beth's story, presented by Live 5 News, and hear about how sex trafficking is being manifested in SC, click here.