By Catherine Barkley, Development Coordinator
As the Development Coordinator at End Slavery Tennessee, I spend most of my time talking about money. I write grants proposing uses for money, thank donors for giving money, and appeal to our community asking for money. I hear over and over the words, “It’s easy to write a check”. I understand the sentiment – before working here, I’d even said it. It means that giving money (in any form) is simple and “not enough”. There’s a sense of guilt behind it. When faced with the reality of human trafficking, sending money feels like a cop out. We want to DO something but we don’t know what we can do and are paralyzed by the gravity of the issue. The money we give feels like we’re putting a band-aid on a giant gaping wound, then wiping our hands and walking away.
Well, the focus of this blog is given away by the title - it is in fact NOT easy to write a check. It is NOT easy to give money in any form, and it is certainly not putting a band-aid on a wound and walking away.
If you’re a member of the End Slavery Tennessee community, you probably live in or near Nashville. Not only is your cost of living already quite high, it’s rapidly increasing. You work hard, and if you’re like me, you’re tired most of the time. Every extra penny is swallowed up by some unexpected expense. Maybe you went out last week, parked in a lot that’s always been free, only to realize as you’re leaving the overpriced dinner where a 20% tip was automatically added to your bill that Park Happy purchased the lot 2 weeks ago. Now you have a ticket on your car, $60 is down the drain, and you’re not feeling very happy (not speaking from experience here…).
In this fast-paced, overwhelming city, just surviving is expensive. That Starbucks coffee in the morning might be the only thing making your ever-lengthening commute bearable. And we haven’t even addressed the emotional energy that goes into simply making it through the day.
When you give money to End Slavery Tennessee, you make an active choice to confront human trafficking – an act that has both emotional and financial cost to you. You do this despite a world that is already draining everything you have. In doing so you come alongside survivors on their healing journey in a capacity that concretely meets their needs and sends a profound message of love. Survivors were once used as objects, sold to make money for their trafficker. Now, you demonstrate a community that gives sacrificially for their healing.
Here’s what I’m trying to say – I want you to have your Starbucks coffee because I know your commute is hard and it’s probably getting worse. I want you to buy the dress you look spectacular in and I hope you wear it to Voices of Freedom 2019. The purpose of this blog is not to shame you into sacrificing more than you already do. It’s to say that when you gave us money in the past, and when you do it again in the future, it has a profound meaning to us and the survivors we serve and we KNOW there is nothing easy about it.