WACO, Texas (KWTX) A handful of women including those who chose to stop dancing in strip clubs to others rescued from human trafficking will have jobs outside the sex industry and paychecks through the end of the year thanks to an anonymous $10,000 donation to the local nonprofit Jesus Said Love.
Kodi, Takayla and Alissa (left to right) are graduates of Access, an eight-week training program which helps the women step into full time employment or become eligible for a loan. (Courtesy photo)
Founder Brett Mills asked friends on Facebook for money for his 44th birthday in a desperate attempt to find funding amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We're sitting at dinner and my phone dings and someone donated $10,000 and I was like 'what? $10,000 in the middle of the epidemic?’" Mills said.
Mills’ immediate concern was for four women graduating from a program called Access, an eight-week training program which helps the women step into full time employment or become eligible for a loan.
"We had four women coming out of the commercial sex industry ready to get back on their feet. Four weeks in, the pandemic hits. We didn't know what we were going to do," Mills said.
"We had to pivot. Traditionally when women graduate our program, they have jobs. So get this. At the end of the eight weeks there were no jobs."
So Mills turned to Facebook asking for donations with a note in part that read, "Here's the deal. My birthday is next week and the thing I want most is for our lovely warriors to continue on with us as employees."
Brett did the math and knew it was a tall task.
"I thought it would be cool to do one of those Facebook fundraisers where you like raise money for a special cause. So, I calculated it out and $16,000 was going to enable us to give these women a job through the end of the year so I thought let's try it out. "
Over the next 24 hours donations came in amounting to about $4,000.
And then the anonymous donor contributed another $10,000, leaving no clue to his or her identity.
"Here's what's even cooler," Mills said.
"They wanted it to be anonymous and typically anonymous donations it says anonymous but we can kind of see it on the back end. I can't figure out who this person is. They covered all their tracks to make sure they were anonymous."
Mills say the donation means Jesus Said Love will have the money to provide jobs at its Lovely Enterprises storefront on Columbus Avenue for all four April graduates as well as for an earlier graduate through the end of the year.
And he has a message for the anonymous donor: “So whoever you are who gave that $10,000 thank you. I was able to go in the next day and say to our women 'you have a job all the way through the end of the year.’ There were lots of tears, lots of laughter. So come by and see us at 1600 Columbus and meet our new employees.”