“Nothing can make our life, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness.” ~Tolstoy
You want to give. You want to be a part of the solution. You want to bring an awareness to your community. The stumbling block for so many of us is simply the question of “Where do I start?”
I believe the starting point is community. You spend time with people who often share the same passions. So you get your like-minded friends together and say, “Hey – this problem in our community/country/abroad needs to be solved.” The first step? How about awareness and education? This is how our group started. We became aware of a situation.
As many of you may know, my husband and I, along with 8 others, are traveling to Thailand next May to help the fight against human trafficking. We will be working with many established and thriving organizations to help the victims of human trafficking in Pattaya, Thailand. We plan on using the skills we learn to help those who are enslaved here in Amarillo, TX and surrounding areas.
Since we will need to raise quite a bit of money to go on this trip, we are knee-deep in fundraisers to make this happen. One of our team members suggested we have a “street fundraiser”, which he had much success with in the past with other non-profits. Basically, this type of fundraiser consists of standing on the concrete islands in the middle of traffic, asking for donations and giving out free pamphlets with information about your cause.
We had volunteers work 4 hour shifts at as many intersections as we could. We did this Fri, Sat and Sun. Our team raised just over $10,000! I am not saying it was easy, but it was worth it. Many of us worked the 9 hour shift all three days (boy were we sore!) The people we had the opportunity to talk to in passing traffic was such an encouragement! People WANT to give. Your community members WANT to help. Some of the things we encountered that weekend:
1. A man asked if we were still taking donations at the end of the day when we were packing up the truck in a bank parking lot. I told him “sure!”, and he handed me $100 he had just taken out of the ATM.
2. A teenage boy in black clothes and a top hat was riding bikes with his friends; he stopped on the island as his friends sped past and emptied all of his pocket-money into my bucket.
3. A girl rolled down her window, placed money in the bucket and I offered her a brochure. She said, “Actually, I already have one. I read it this morning. I have NO IDEA how it got in my car. But I want to donate.”
4. There was a woman who was trying to cross an overpass bridge, and yelled across traffic to ask me a question. I crossed the street and she said she was deathly afraid of heights, but didn’t know how else to get back to her hotel without crossing over (she had taken a cab earlier). I offered to walk her over the bridge, held her arm tight as I told her not to look down. Penny was so sweet and thankful and said she would be praying for us. I happened to be at the right place at the right time for her. That moment was the highlight of my weekend.
5. Matt had a woman write him a check for $75.
6. Matt encountered a man who said that his sister had been sold into sex-trafficking and wanted to support the fight.
7. Countless police officers and relatives of law enforcement stopped to thank us for raising awareness. They knew it was happening in our community, but felt many people didn’t know it existed in our town.
This is just a handful of people we encountered out on the streets that weekend. We had 40+ volunteers, and I am sure ALL of them have stories to share.
Even if you don’t have the means to do a fundraiser of this magnitude, there are other ways to get involved. Look for local groups in your community that are already trying to solve problems. Start small. Hold an awareness night with live music, poetry and a speaker that’s knowledgeable about your cause at a local coffee-house. Once you begin to get the word out, more people will want to join and pretty soon you will have a group big enough to do bigger fundraisers. How awesome would it be to bless a local/global organization with a donation that you are passionate about helping?
I want to share this video with you from the organization “Not For Sale”. It’s the founder of the organization telling how he got involved with the fight against human trafficking. It just takes one person to start a revolution!
There are many details that go along with this specific type of fundraiser, and if you’re interested in more details on how to do this in YOUR community for YOUR cause, leave a message below and I’d love to share more with you!
If you happened to help with our Amarillo fundraiser, I would love to hear about the people you encountered while working!