Supporting Human Trafficking + Valentine’s Day

cookie kits

As a church, we strive to be an agent for social change. That’s why our team at SHEPHERD’SGROVE chooses quarterly missional focuses to get involved in by partnering with various organizations and sharing ample information to spread awareness! This quarter, we’ve been focusing on human trafficking. One of the biggest things you can do to fight human trafficking is by using your purchasing power to hold corporations accountable for their supply chains! Not sure if where you’re shopping is ethically sourced? The best way to avoid unethically produced products are by shopping locally (avoid buying products from far away countries), shopping used or secondhand items, or by doing some light research!

On Sunday, January 17th, we had Deidre Pujols with us for an interview! Deidre founded Open Gate International in 2016. She had visited several countries and during her travels, learned of the devastating emotional, social, and economic impact wrought by human trafficking and other exploitive industries. These experiences deeply affected Deidre and she was determined to get involved and make an impact. After speaking to many organizations already filling roles through rescue, rehabilitation, and other services, she found that a critical element of survivor support was missing: Job training and workforce integration. Out of this, OGI was born.

Open Gate Kitchen provides a culinary arts education for adult survivors of vulnerable life situations! OPK is right here in Costa Mesa! Be sure to check out their menu and support them by ordering some delicious, gourmet takeout! Their program is now operating in four international countries and is accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation. Check out Deidre’s interview below.

Yesterday, Sunday, February 14th, we handed out 200 cookie decorating kits to the church in partnership with Deidre’s organization. Our gift to the congregation, we were able to bless both Diedre’s organization and our church family.