On September 26, 2014, I spoke about ways to help youth victimized by human sex trafficking and the non-profit organization, Miracles Outreach (see the full-length video under “Video Gallery”). There is so much we can do as a community to give back to these children and teens. Below are some ways to help Miracles Outreach. To learn more about Miracles Outreach and make a donation, please visit www.miraclesoutreach.org.
1. Contribute to a suitcase drive — this means that you bring a suitcase (can be new or gently used) filled with supplies. Why a suitcase? because oftentimes the children that move from foster care home to foster care home travel with garbage bags. What type of message are we sending to children by having them travel with garbage bags? It feels like we are “throwing them away” and that is very sad. Let’s give these children some dignity and provide them with suitcases. But, do not bring the suitcases empty. Fill the suitcases with supplies, ranging from shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and other toiletries. Children at Miracles Outreach rely on the support of the community, so please contribute what you can for the suitcase drive that is happening right now.
2. Miracles Outreach needs more safe houses. Okay, so maybe you are one person reading this and you cannot afford to buy them a facility to house the youth. Think about all of the resources around you — you may know a major company or organization (or work for one) that can help with these costs. You may know someone that can easily donate land and/or construction materials to make this dream possible. Finally, you may know a team of volunteers to help with electrical issues, painting, and other remodeling needs.
3. Another critical need at this time is a van. Miracles Outreach needs a van to help transport residents to physician, therapist, and dental appointments, along with extracurricular activities and other community functions. If you or someone you know has a van to donate or would like to donate funds to purchase a van, please contact Miracles Outreach at (813) 374-2184 or visit Miracles Outreach website to make a donation. You can always call Miracles Outreach and let them know that you specifically want the donation to go to the purchase of a van for the children.
4. Gift cards are always needed and appreciated – Wal-mart, Target, Publix, and any other stores that would sell everyday items that we often take for granted.
5. Storage units — Miracles Outreach could benefit from a donation of storage units to be able to accept large donated items or a large quantity of supplies. Perhaps you know someone that owns a storage unit facility that would be willing to donate one of their units to this caring organization helping the youth.
6. Mentoring — it’s free! Speak with a Miracles Outreach staff to inquire about the requirements to be a mentor and make a difference in the life of the child.
Remember: you can always give back to your community — you have more resources, time, and connections than you think — use them to help make our community better!
~ Dr. Hammond