Speaking from the perspective of a director at a grassroots non-profit: With every major leap we take towards our mission of ending domestic sex trafficking “one life at a time”, I can look back and locate specific volunteers that helped us be in a position to take that leap. We started as a 100% volunteer staff with a small army of individuals who stood by us as we moved forward into the great unknown of fighting sex trafficking in New Jersey and starting a 501(c)3 non-profit. While we grappled with how to best serve survivors, educate the public about this dark issue through a lens of hope, and build a non-profit from the ground up, we have had the support of hundreds of volunteers to make the dream a reality.
Whenever I sit with a survivor and hear how well they are doing and how thankful they are for our support, I think of a volunteer that is back in the office doing tasks so I can have the time to be with those we serve.
That particular volunteer started her journey with Love True almost exactly this time last year- she volunteered at the Trek Against Trafficking. When I asked her about why she first felt the urge to work with us, she told me about her experience at the Trek.
Why did you start volunteering at Love True?
It’s a combination of two reasons, actually. One, it seems every church we’ve gone to the past several years has somehow been affiliated with Love True, or Love True has given one of their presentations there. After the fourth or fifth time, I couldn’t deny that I was being nudged – and/or pointedly shoved – in their direction. The second is that after seeing everyone who’d come out to the Trek last year, I really felt a tug on my heart to give more. I’m so grateful that I did.
Was the Trek your first time volunteering for Love True?
Yes. My dad had volunteered with the Trek the year before and I was excited to serve alongside him.
How was the experience?
It was wonderful, although a little different from what I expected. We were in charge of the farthest water station for the 10K race, and you couldn’t help but be inspired. We had fun encouraging the runners at the halfway point.
What was your favorite part?
Truly, seeing all the dedicated people who’d come out on a rainy autumn day to be a part of a cause that changes lives. Watching them sticking to their commitments and hitting their goals urged me to finally do something more in the fight against human trafficking.
Why should others volunteer at Love True?
Volunteering at Love True is more than just a paltry bandage in the attempt to cover a festering wound. We and others like us are the cure to the disease that is human trafficking. We are literally making history! Every movement has started small, be it William Wilberforce’s efforts to eradicate slavery in the British Empire, our own pre-Civil War abolitionist crusades, or Martin Luther King Jr.’s campaign for civil rights. However, with an intensely devoted group of people with a definiteness of purpose and a burning desire to achieve it, we will end human trafficking in our lifetime.
Will you be coming back this year?
Of course! And you all should be there too!
Hearing responses like these only further my admiration and gratitude towards our volunteers. I hope this year, more will have experiences like this and join our volunteer team!
If you are interested in volunteering at the Trek Against Trafficking or at Love True for other events/projects, please contact us by filling out one of these forms!
Written by Emily Rutt, Associate Director