SPRINGVILLE—With thousands of people being bought and sold annually in the United States and hundreds of people being rescued in Western New York over the years, human trafficking continues to be a growing problem nationwide.
People Against Trafficking Humans Inc., a Buffalo-based non-for-profit, works to end human exploitation through awareness, action and aftercare through its services. With the help of Kathleen Jeffers, of Springville, village residents now have the opportunity to help the organization and work to help reverse human trafficking.
The Women’s Ministry at the Wesleyan Church of Hamburg, of which Jeffers is a part, has taken on PATH as its mission. Over the past two years, the Women’s Ministry has hosted dinners three times a year for women and children affected by human trafficking.
“We just make it a party night,” Jeffers said. “It’s a time where they can forget all they are going through in their life and we just visit with them, play with the kids, we talk with them, laugh with them, pray with them and just get them excited about life again.”
At the dinner, each woman and child who attends receives a bag filled with a variety of items to both help them in the daily lives and help bring some extra happiness. In an effort to continue making these bags, Jeffers is collecting item donations in Springville for the dinner on June 22.
For the adults, the bags include shampoo, conditioner, body wash, pads, tampons, toothpaste, a toothbrush and other extra items. The bags for children contain a stuffed animal, toys, toothbrush, toothpaste, crayons, bubbles, coloring books and other extra items to help bring smiles to their faces.
“A lot of the ladies at PATH, some of them have homes, but most of them are living in shelters so they just don’t have whatever they can get,” Jeffers said. “Because we have done [the dinner] six times now, they have come to depend on it so I said I will see if I can get anyone to donate anything just because they really depend on it.”
Since posting about the collection on the Be Neighborly Springville Facebook group and placing a bin outside her home, Jeffers has been amazed by the amount of donations received and is grateful for everyone helping out the cause.
“Every time I come home … [the bin] is just filled and the people of Springville have been amazing,” she said. “Some of them have shared stories about how they have gone through things. People don’t realize that human trafficking happens all over Western New York.”
As this year’s dinner approaches, Jeffers and the Women’s Ministry are still looking for items to fill another 15 adult bags. Items still needed include toothbrushes, toothpaste, body wash, personal hygiene products and deodorant. Those interested in donating can drop off items at 13077 Buffalo Road in the blue bin.