Faith, Hope and Love Duffels for Kids needs help fulfilling bag requests for human trafficking victims rescued in Racine County.
Faith, Hope and Love Duffels for Kids supplies county law enforcement agencies with duffel bags filled with comforting items like a stuffed animal, books, socks, and a flashlight for kids who are being separated from their families or are being displaced for other reasons. Since 2013, Lojeski has supplied over 500 bags to police and the sheriff’s department.
Heather Lojeski, executive director of FHL, said the demand for bags for trafficking victims is much larger than she ever expected or has funds to supply.
“I did a lot of research and discovered 35 victims a year are typically recovered, so I planned to add 35 bags to what we normally do,” she said. “But, it turns out that’s not nearly enough, and I don’t know how to fill all the requests we’re getting.”
Lojeski estimates she needs 100 bags or more to keep up with the demand.
For trafficking victims the contents of the bags are a little different and are called New Beginnings bags. A fleece blanket, Pillow Pets (doubles as the stuffed animal and the pillow), t-shirts, sweatpants, sports bras, deodorant, and snacks. Lojeski said the supply list was provided by the FBI, and each bag is meant to tide the recipient over for 48 hours – the two days between their rescue and when victims are transitioned into more long-term care solutions.
Each bag – the duffel itself and all the things that go into it – costs around $75, and Lojeski doesn’t know where she’s going to get the money to help the kids rescued from the horrors of human trafficking.
“We’ve been getting so many requests locally and now from a group in California who helps international victims,” she added. “We want to help, and we will.”
Lojeski said she wants neighbors to know that she appreciates the offers of items, but asks those who want to help to give cash instead because she can make a dollar really stretch through deals she’s worked out with several vendors.
“I know people want to help, and I am grateful for anything,” she continued. “But like other non-profits, I’ve made really good connections with a number of vendors who have drastically reduced prices for us.”