As we have examined the best possible options for serving survivors of sex trafficking and exploitation here in Portland, we have begun the process of building a relationship with The Salvation Army Female Emergency Shelter (SAFES) program. Many of the women served by the shelter have experienced sexual exploitation as part of the harsh realities of homelessness in Portland.
Knowing this, we are striving to best serve the shelter and meet their needs as they provide daily relief, support, and care to these women. They have expressed urgent needs to supply the women who frequent the shelter with basic resources including new blankets, new or gently used women's coats, new socks, new gloves, new hats, new scarfs, and new undergarments. Equipped with this knowledge, Compassion First will coordinate resource drives to collect these items throughout the year.
We are engaging with churches all over the city to continue our efforts regularly. These communities are collecting not just the emergency needs, but also the numerous care items The Salvation Army has requested for blessing all incoming women. Compassion First is collecting these items into care packs to equip the SAFES program with as many as we can.
We are also assisting any hopeful volunteers through The Salvation Army’s volunteer screening process to empower them to serve the women at the SAFES program and offer support to the shelter’s staff. We are increasingly excited about how this can serve to bless the women as well as our existing volunteer network.