Hi Friends! I hope you are having the HAPPIEST day!
I want to share a few photos and say a big THANK YOU to all of you who were a part of The City of Refuge drive we did at the end of 2017. I know it's taken me a while to share about this, but I actually kept receiving items for the kits through January, so the final set was finally delivered this week. Hooray! This drive was really close to my heart, and I am so excited that you guys were so connected to this initiative as well. I am honestly STILL overwhelmed by how many of you gave, especially in the midst of the busiest and most expensive time of the year - you guys are rock stars!!
Behind the "Why":
I originally read about The City of Refuge drive in my church bulletin back in late November. My church, Bethel Atlanta, was collecting items to be compiled into hygiene kits for mothers who were coming out of crisis situations - either abuse or sex trafficking.
I knew immediately that I wanted to get involved and leverage my online friends (YOU!!!) because I've seen how powerful and wonderful and kind-hearted everyone is in this community is. My first thought was to collect enough items to fulfill 20 kits, but I immediately felt God nudging me out of that "comfort zone" and pushing me to to do something that felt impossible. Something that required faith, and not just my own ability. So I said, alright, let's try for 25!
Each kit needed to contain the following: 2 in 1 shampoo + conditioner, deodorant, lotion, lip balm, tampons + pads, toothpaste and a toothbrush. I created a Target registry for these items because I wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to give. Based on my estimations, each kit cost just under $25, so I knew going in that I was going to have to cover some portion of the $625 investment if I couldn't get enough items donated. Hence the leap of faith.
I shared about the initiative here on the blog and also on my Instagram, and I was so thrilled at how excited you all were to get involved and make a difference! After several weeks of many Target deliveries, I was flabbergasted to receive enough items to compile 35 kits - 10 more than my original goal! Seriously, you guys are heroes. I wish I could send you all DoTerra oils aplenty (aka some of my favorite things) as a thank you!!
My sis-in-law Lauren was kind enough to help me deliver the kits on Dec. 20 to The City of Refuge. Lauren, thank you for taking the trek with me! While we were unloading the boxes, I couldn't help but be completely amazed (and distracted!) by the incredible scale of the operation itself. City of Refuge is HUGE, and not only provides a roof for immediate needs to be met through safe housing and meals, but it also provides ongoing education and avenues for self-sufficiency. You can read more about everything City of Refuge does here.
The night before I delivered all the kits, I was checking out at Target at around 9pm. The cashier started asking me questions about the items I was purchasing (it was multiples of more deodorant and toothpaste), and I shared with her about the drive and the mission of City of Refuge. She welled up with tears and asked me for the name and number of the shelter. Then she went on to share with me that her daughter had been caught up in sex trafficking and she has only recently gotten back in touch with her - and that her daughter is only 15 years old. She wept as she told me that her daughter was caught up in a really rough crowd, but she hoped that City of Refuge could provide her with the kind of resources that could help turn her life around. I was stunned. For as much as I hear about the ongoing efforts in Atlanta to address this issue of human trafficking, I just never had a touch point with someone who had been affected by it or who had a family member entangled in it. Her mama heart was broken for her little girl and I stood there in line with her, weeping for her daughter's safety. She held my hands at the end of our check out time and she looked me in the eyes and said, "God is good. I know he is good. What you people are doing is good."
The look in her eyes is burned into my memory.
I want to tell you, friends, what you did in assisting with these kits isn't some far-off distant charity work. It impacts the lives of daughters, mothers, sisters and all of their friends and families. It impacts people around you, even if you don't have an immediate touch point. Just know that what you are doing is so, so SO good, and I am proud to have partnered with you in this incredible endeavor. It was my first drive of this kind, but it certainly won't be the last!
Thank you all so much for your support, encouragement and gifts! Your investment, no matter how big or small, made an enormous impact! All my love to you, friends! xx