MIFFLINTOWN - Bringing hope to victims of human trafficking is something Susan Shetler has always been passionate about.
Last spring, Shetler collaborated with friends Suzanne King and Sari Glick to organize the first "Race for Her" 5K charity walk-run to raise money for She Has a Name, an organization dedicated to stopping human trafficking in the United States and abroad.
"It was amazing," Shetler said of the turnout.
About 130 individuals participated in the first run which raised over $5,000.
This year, the trio is organizing the second annual Race For Her to be held on May 18 in Mifflintown. Money raised will benefit Oasis of Hope Ministries, the first Pennsylvania state-licensed home for domestic minor survivors of human trafficking, King said.
Debbie Colton, founder of Oasis of Hope, said she and her husband have helped raise more than 70 children and have always had a heart to help those in need. Of those children, three young girls were victims of human trafficking. Working with them was an eye opening experience, she said.
"Between 100,000 and 300,000 children are trafficked in America every year..." she said. "Sex trafficking is happening everywhere in the United States. It's not just in other countries."
Colton said God gave her a vision to build safe homes for minor domestic girls, and Oasis of Hope was born. She renovated a home to house seven girls and three full-time staff members. The kitchen was designed to help teach cooking, baking, canning and freezing skills. Colton said the girls receive music, pet and art therapies.
The home is faith-based and runs solely on donations from individuals, churches and civic organizations, she said. There is no cost to the girls.
"All of our staff are Christians, and they show God's love through their actions and by loving the girls for who they are," Colton said. "They see Jesus through our walk, not our talk."
Shetler said Colton is scheduled to speak at the race which starts at Cameo Kitchens, located at 1449 William Penn Highway in Mifflintown, and continues along a scenic route through the area. First and second place prizes will be awarded to men and women in running and walking categories.
A food stand will be available for racers, onlookers and bystanders. Shetler said food including fresh smoothies will be available on a donation basis.
Red Thread bracelets made by women who have been victims of sex trafficking will also be for sale, and there will be a bin to donate used purses. King said the purses will be donated to Change Purse, which collects the items to sell. According to the organization's website, proceeds from the sales are given to faith-based organizations that work directly with potential and rescued victims of sex trafficking.
To register, call Susan Shetler at 320-3180 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Early bird registration costs $25 and is available on or before April 15. Registration costs $35 from April 16 to May 10. Race day registration costs $40 and starts at 7:30 a.m. May 18 at Cameo Kitchens, 1449 William Penn Highway in Mifflintown.
Shetler, King and Glick thank the sponsors, volunteers and participants who helped with last year's race or have already offered help or services for this year's event.
For more information, see "Race For Her" on Facebook.