BFH #GivingTuesday Story

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Donate to BFH #GivingTuesday

When you give a girl a lemon, she’ll probably ask to make lemonade. When she makes the lemonade, she might give up her 8th birthday party to set up a lemonade stand and raise $800 to help children in need. 8-year-old Olivia sold lemonade to raise money for Blanket Fort Hope, an organization that focuses on child trafficking prevention and awareness in Alabama. Olivia recognized the need, and joined the fight against child trafficking by giving up her birthday party to have our most successful lemonade stand campaign. Olivia’s actions paint a beautiful picture of what selfless love, acts of service, and #GivingTuesday are all about.

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BFH focuses on child trafficking prevention and awareness and is currently making plans to build the first safe house for child trafficking victims in Alabama. Our mission is to love and care for child trafficking victims through housing, services, and long-term commitment, and to prevent children from becoming victims by educating children, and professionals who work with children, about human trafficking. This is a major crisis in our nation, and throughout Alabama, because of the interstate systems connecting Atlanta and New Orleans. Many Alabamians believe that human trafficking only occurs overseas or in other big cities, yet don’t realize the devastating number of children that need help right here in Alabama. We are in the fight to help child victims recover from this horrific crime in a safe and secure environment through healing and support. Our future house will allow children to be free and imaginative. Every Blanket Fort has a name, and ours is named Hope.

Blanket Fort Hope is so excited to participate in #GivingTuesday again this year. We have big plans for this year, with an ultimate goal of $25,000. The money raised will be directly used in the establishment of our safe house. To reach our goal, we are partnering with three local businesses that are going above and beyond to support our efforts. BancorpSouth is having a competition between its seven branches in the Birmingham area to see who can raise the most money by asking their customers to donate as well as their employees. Each branch will be creating a blanket out of card stock that represents each donation. The branch that completes their blanket first will be the winner, and will be recognized on social media. Camping World, a local RV retailer, is allowing us to set a booth up on #GivingTuesday. We are also partnering with a local clothing boutique, LJ’s Retail Therapy. They are gracious enough to donate 15% of their sales for the day to our #GivingTuesday fund. By partnering with these businesses, and blasting out our plan on social media, we hope to inspire people to give back after their holiday shopping.

#GivingTuesday is our kickoff to an overall goal of $550,000 that will be used in the establishment of our safe house. Stories like Olivia’s keep us hopeful that we will see an end to child trafficking, and they serve as a reminder that even the smallest things (and people) can make the biggest difference for others. So we would like to ask; what inspires you to give?

Donate to BFH #GivingTuesday

Official Release of “BFH: A Child Goes Missing” Video

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Through the support of Leadership Shelby County and Video Visions, Blanket Fort Hope is pleased to release its first human trafficking prevention education video! We are forever grateful to Shelby County, Alabama for catching the vision to help tell this story. This video was made by Alabamians for our children and youth. The horrific crime of human trafficking is attacking the children of Alabama, along with children throughout the United States and world. As communities, we must educate ourselves and our children about human trafficking so that we can identify the signs and safely intervene. We hope that this video will help educate families and students about the realities of this crime. Our children are worth fighting for, and there is hope for them when we partner together! Please contact Blanket Fort Hope if you are interested in showing or displaying this video for educational purposes.

Letter to Pornography

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Our thanks to Austin Shugart for permission to post his letter to pornography! While there are many opinions about pornography, the reality we face in helping child trafficking victims is that often they are trafficked for pornography. Research shows us that pornography fuels the human trafficking industry. And while many of us can identify with the appeal of pornography, the truth we must understand is that without a demand there would be no need for a supply of human trafficking victims. It is our children who are exploited to meet the demand for pornography. Our children deserve our very best to understand the addictive nature of pornography. It is for the sake of our children that we shine a light on pornography and seek help together! As a result, we make ourselves, families, and communities stronger.

 

Hold the Fort

At Blanket Fort Hope, we have adopted the slogan “Hold the Fort!”

Have you ever left your kids at home to run an errand and told the oldest to “hold the fort” while you’re gone? You need for them to protect the home, its valuables, and especially the other kids in your absence.

When an army builds a fort, the army must not only maintain the fort but also protect it from hostile outsiders or enemies. The army must “hold the fort” to keep the soldiers and supplies inside the fort safe and to carry on the mission at hand.

It is not enough that we established our Fort to help child trafficking victims. In order to truly help these children, Blanket Fort Hope must continue to protect the children entrusted to our care from those who wish to exploit and abuse them. We must hold the hard-fought ground on which we stand.

But when we think about holding this Fort, we see our responsibility as reaching beyond the children in our immediate care. Our efforts must spread into the communities in which we work. We have to hold the fort on behalf of all children in these communities. Each one is vulnerable to traffickers who seek to exploit them. Whether the children we help have been trafficked or are simply members of our surrounding community, they need someone to stand in the gap for them.

In order to thrive, children need protection. Sometimes for any number of reasons, those adults, guardians, professionals, and agencies who otherwise should or would be protecting these children are unable to do so.  So we must hold the fort for these children, guarding them in the absence of other adults and protectors. We hope that our prevention education and work on behalf of children will help keep them safe from the hostile outsiders who prey on children. We believe that our mission makes communities safer and stronger.

“Hold the fort” is like a rallying cry or a call to action for our team. We are professing that Blanket Fort Hope is a place of safety for children. And we are committed to holding the fort no matter the challenges because our children are worth it!

Will you help us hold the fort?

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Lemonade Stand Campaign

What is the Lemonade Stand Campaign?

The purpose of the Lemonade Stand Campaign is to raise funds for Blanket Fort Hope (BFH) to open a Children’s Home for child trafficking victims and to educate children, and professionals who work with children, about human trafficking.

How do you get involved?

Follow these easy steps!

1) As a group, church, business, family, or individual, commit to organizing a lemonade stand.

2) Choose a location to place your lemonade stand.

3) Create your lemonade stand!

4) Involve KIDS as much as possible!

5) Contact BFH to receive the simple guidelines for participation in the Lemonade Stand Campaign.

We look forward to hearing about your lemonade stand!

For more information on a lemonade stand happening near you, please contact us!

New Member of BFH Team

On behalf of Blanket Fort Hope, I am thrilled to announce that we have hired Alexa Likis James as the new Vice President of our organization. Alexa brings tremendous experience, compassion, and heart for children who have suffered because of human trafficking. Due to the deep issues involved with human trafficking, the work of BFH is more like a marathon than a sprint. We are blessed to have Alexa join our team and contribute a diligence, tenacity, and perseverance that will help BFH run this marathon.

I am excited to share about Alexa’s contribution to the beginnings of BFH. Alexa and I met through our common work and passion to help victims of human trafficking. Before BFH was ever a vision, we spent months recognizing the needs of these children and dreaming about what could be possible for them. BFH was born from those months of dreaming about a different outcome for these kids. We are truly grateful that Alexa is officially joining us to help make the vision a reality!

Welcome to the BFH Team, Alexa!

~ Lauren Hartin, President/CEO

We Will Raise Our Voices Together

William Lloyd Garrison once wrote the following on the causes of abolition and human rights:

“I am aware, that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire, to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hand of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; — but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD. The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal, and to hasten the resurrection of the dead.”

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Slavery is alive and well in the United States. Some people choose to call it human trafficking. Some people choose to call it free enterprise.

We are here to tell you … slavery did not end with abolition. And human trafficking is not a free enterprise.

For every lie that has been told… and every body that has been sold…
For every child who’s been lost, every woman who’s been exploited, and every soul that has been sold…

For every wish that has not been granted… every hope that has died…
And for every cry for help that has not been heard — we will be the voice.

We will be the voice of outrage.

We will be the voice of truth.

We will be the voice that sounds the alarm — the clarion call for help.

We will be the voice that calls for dignity and justice.

And we will be the voice that cries for freedom.

Will you join us? Will you raise your voices with us?

Raise your voices with us!

~ Alexa