Last night, we attended “Cocktails for a Cause” at The Westedge in downtown Charleston, supporting The Formation Project, a non-profit that assists victims of sex-trafficking to gain their lives back with financial, therapeutic, educational, and emotional support. Hearing first-hand stories of victims whose lives were changed so dramatically once they had the right support from this foundation was truly heart-wrenching. When the recollections by survivors began, a room of hundreds of people fell silent. I think we were all gob-smacked at how close to home the crimes were that were being committed. Who knew this was happening right here in Charleston? Who knew Charleston was in the top five cities in South Carolina to have this crime? Who knew some victims, including the founder, had been trafficked by their own families? Who knew how hard it was for most of them to get the support they needed because strangers feared the worst when they approached?
The Formation Project was founded by a survivor, Kat Wehunt, and so far, they’ve helped over 50 victims, both male and female, to get back on their feet. They don’t just want to provide financial aid and/or a place to live for these victims, they want to rehabilitate victims into leading quality lives, making at least 250% over the poverty level. Most of all they want the rehabilitation to include emotional support from other victims they can talk to like family. The emotional support makes all the difference in rehab success rates. You’d be surprised at the amazing careers proper rehabilitation can lead survivors into! They want to help more victims and they could use more funding and even non-financial donations, like books and educational resources. We at Vintage Porch Swings want to help, too!
Vintage Porch Swings’ owner, Jerry Lepore, has a special connection to charitable organizations with his involvement in Altruity, which partners with companies and sports organizations to raise donations through the workplace and with philanthropic giving to support people in need. Vintage Porch Swings loves to be a part of supporting the community that helped us grow into the company we are today. Integrity and compassion are important aspects of our day-to-day business model and we seek out causes annually to help. We jumped at the chance to support The Formation Project and we'll also be donating 5% of all sales in our busiest month of the year (May) to help them out.
If you’d like more information on The Formation Project, you can visit their website by clicking on their mentions in this blog. We kindly encourage you to donate or get involved, as we are all now battling a crime that is getting bigger and affecting more people every day. If you cannot give money directly through the charity, consider purchasing a swing package from Vintage Porch Swings May 1st through May 31st this year, of which 5% of the purchase price will go to this 501(c)3 non-profit to help sex-trafficked victims.
Thank you for your support.
**Read why the elephant is The Formation Project icon (click here). Photo by Saifuddin Ratlamwala