We find ourselves in a completely different world than the last time we campaigned. The coronavirus pandemic has impacted all of us, and our annual Caring for Women campaign is no exception.
In previous years, our Steering Committee and as many as 38 Campaigners came together to raise money for the Willmar Area Women's Fund. Much of our campaigning involved meeting with community members in person and attending events that allowed us to spread the word about our work.
We are still holding our campaign but we have made some changes in light of the pandemic.
Rather than in-person visits, we mailed out letters to our friends and neighbors to keep them updated on our work and our mission. We eliminated our paper brochures this year in an effort to prioritize the health and safety of our volunteers and community members. Our annual Luncheon that we typically hold in the fall has also been cancelled in an abundance of caution.
Even though our campaign might look different this year, we know that funding for the prevention of sexual exploitation is more critical than ever.
Safe Avenues has seen a 30% increase in calls about domestic and sexual violence, two issues that often intersect with sexual exploitation. In April, we issued an unrestricted grant of $20,000 to Safe Avenues to help fuel their work in assisting victims in Kandiyohi County.
This year, we're also expanding our reach to include trauma informed care training and awareness building efforts in Kandiyohi County to organizations serving youth, adults and families. We recently issued $19,300 in grant money to four local organizations for trauma informed care training so staff can better assist exploitation victims.
Our continued goals for this year include:
Fueling direct victim assistance through our partner organization, Safe Avenues
Supporting trauma informed care training for professionals
Funding "Safe Dates" trainers to educate youth in our area schools on healthy/unhealthy relationships
Broadening awareness of the issues surrounding sexual exploitation in our county to help prevent and stop the cycle
Finally, an anonymous donor generously offered a $10,000 matching gift to kick off our 2020 Caring for Women Campaign.
Even with the challenges we all face this year, our community has graciously stepped up to support our friends and neighbors in need.
We hope you'll continue to stand with us and say "Not Here, Not Our Kids" by donating to this year's campaign!