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Annual fundraiser held to increase awareness of sex trafficking in America

By Staff | Apr 10, 2019

BARB BARRETT/The Luminary These local women attended the ‘Restore to Freedom Gala’ a fundraiser for Oasis of Hope, a faith-based ministry to help support those traumatized by human trafficking. Sitting left to right are Grace Cubberlex of Picture Rocks, Pastor Connie Waugh of Clarkstown, and Lena Karichner of Hughesville. Standing left to right are Theresa Guthrie of Muncy, Ann McMahon of Hughesville, Carol Shetler of Hughesville and Cynthia Pfleegor of Turbotville. The 5th annual event was held at Camp Susque in Trout Run. Shelter sponsored the table for eight.

TROUT RUN – Restore to Freedom is not a political movement or a timeless video, but instead it is a chance for hope and healing.

On Saturday night several local women traveled to Camp Susque in Trout Run to support a fundraiser for Oasis of Hope whose mission exists to restore lives traumatized through human trafficking.

Carol Shetler of Hughesville sponsored a table for 8 and invited 8 people to attend with her to help support this global issue.

The Restore to Freedom gala was held to raise awareness of sex trafficking and to support the Oasis of Hope, a shelter and a faith-based ministry for victims and survivors.

Debbie Colton, founder and President of Oasis of Hope spoke of its beginnings ten years ago, and the need for this safe haven whose location for safety reasons will remain anonymous.

The fundraiser was held in support of the foundation and to build more ways to “give a hand.” Most of the victims don’t know how to love and be loved and the main focus of Oasis of Hope is restoration.

Colton told the audience the program was set up for survivors to “remove layers of trauma.” She said it takes years of progress to make for each client. Each individual has distinct issues and the ministry will help with individual service plans. Often it takes 7 or 8 times in and out of the program before there’s a change. “We rebuild survivor’s lives and enable them to regain personal authority.”

Using resources, therapies, and prayer, awareness is increased to help both caretakers and survivors. Colton said she does two speaking engagements a month and Oasis of Hope gives training seminars for the public and law enforcement.

“The more education we provide, the more light that is shed into this darkness,” Colton said.

Human trafficking occurs in all 50 states and the top venue is escort services. “Let’s expose the seeds of darkness, wake up sleepers, and spread the hope of a different form of life.”

To help she encouraged lots of prayer, volunteerism, fundraising events, and/or become a resident advisor. “Love the unlovable. Abolition is first hand. Give support and encouragement, be pro-active.”

In conclusion, to give a helping hand, they welcome prayer, donations, administrative help and volunteers to mentor or teach classes.

A collection was taken at the end, and an auction of table arrangements with purple flowers and roses took place with Roan Auctioneers as well as some sponsoring prizes and free theater tickets.

In 2017, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center received 26,884 calls, 3,154 webforms, and 1,833 emails.

To help the Oasis of Hope or make a difference in someone’s life, contact Mary Shenk at cottagegirl72@gmail.com or Alana Opdahl at aopdahl@oasisofhopeusa.org.