Soroptimist International of Long Beach partnered with Esther Group of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and CASTLA (Coalition Against Sexual Trafficking, Los Angeles) to stock twelve apartments for rescued victims of human trafficking. SILB collected 12 boxes of pots and pans, baking dishes and bowls; 12 boxes of plates, cups and flatware; 12 hampers filled with bed sheets, towels, placemats, kitchen linen, and hangers; 12 kitchen trash containers filled with kitchen tools; 12 small wastebaskets filled with household cleaning supplies; and, 12 packets filled with office supplies and spices. In addition, members donated themed housewarming gifts.
Organizers of the project, members Alison Reid and Michele Wilkosz, collected the household goods for several months then hosted a “shower of love” and potluck dinner for SILB members to help pack the supplies. CASTLA staff member, Ivette Barcena, attended the event, helping to pack and to share more about the services provided by CASTLA to human trafficking victims. Several SILB members contributed gently used items and showed up to sort and pack the generous supply of household goods.
The dedicated staff of The Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) is composed of caring caseworkers with experience working in various social service settings to end modern slavery through education, advocacy and empowering survivors of human trafficking. CAST is a Los Angeles–based nonprofit organization that is working to put an end to modern slavery and human trafficking through comprehensive, lifesaving services to survivors and a platform to advocate for groundbreaking policies and legislation. Over the past two decades, CAST has supported thousands of survivors through every phase of their journey to freedom. Services may include counseling, legal resources, housing, life skills, basic necessities, educational and leadership training and mentorship. Through these programs, CAST has helped empower survivors to overcome their traumatic past to independence. CAST strives for survivors to reach a stage in their lives where they are able to live in a house or apartment they can call home. However, many of these homes and apartments are completely empty. Through the generous contributions from Soroptimist International of Long Beach, families have accessed essential housing items and are now able to call their apartment HOME.