By LOIS KINDLE
The public is invited to attend the Campaign Against Human Trafficking – South Shore’s “Dancing through the Decades” fundraiser Dec. 4. The BYOB event will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. at Community Hall, 1910 Pebble Beach Blvd. S, Sun City Center, and feature music, dancing, 50/50 raffle, silent auction and heavy hors d’oeuvres. A survivor named Mia will be on hand to tell her story of being rescued and what she learned from the experience.
The silent auction includes more than $4,000 in items, including a resort stay in Key West and amenities, sunset cruise of Tampa Bay, night at the Don CeSar Hotel in St. Petersburg, Kentucky Derby package, weekend stay at the Sand Key Hotel in Clearwater, day package for six at the Hard Rock Hotel in Tampa and many more.
Guests are invited to wear apparel from their favorite decades. Tickets are $35 per person and can be obtained by visiting www.sccblueheart.org or calling Helen DePinto at 813-773-7529. They’ll also be available at the door.
Advance registration and payment are requested, if possible, to ensure enough hors d’oeuvres are prepared for all. Credit cards, cash and checks are accepted.
“Dancing through the Decades” is CAHT’s largest annual fundraiser.
“With everything going on right now, people are struggling,” said Lou Anne Rossdeutscher, CAHT South Shore president. “There’s a much greater need for services and fewer donations to provide them.”
Rossdeutscher said hundreds of young women and some young men of all ages and ethnicities get trafficked each year in the Tampa Bay area, and the South Shore group supports those who are from southern Hillsborough County communities.
It’s mission of supporting the fight against human trafficking and related domestic violence involves public outreach in area public schools and the community-at-large to build awareness and prevent further victimization. The group rescues victims of domestic violence, human trafficking and elder abuse.
“As far as I know, we’re the only organization in the Tampa Bay area that accepts victims directly from the hospital or police without a required assessment,” Rossdeutscher said.
Founded almost 12 years ago, this 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization works with a network of multicultural groups, like Beth-El Mission, Enterprising Latinas, area chambers of commerce and churches to make educational presentations, provide emergency short-term housing and basic needs to families of victims, as well as mentoring, scholarships and referral services. The group also has a puppeteer program on antibullying.
Its Safe Shelter and Victims Services teams provide funding and assistance for victims who have been provided a safe place to stay, tangible items like rescue packs, clothing, backpacks and blankets to at-risk youth, law enforcement and regional anti-human trafficking organizations.
CAHT receives funding from the Interfaith Social Action Council of Sun City Center, Ruskin Woman’s Club, the Valencia Lakes Turkey Trot and other organizations and foundations. Last year, the South Shore awarded $19,000 in scholarships to deserving high school seniors.
CHAT’s next meeting will be Jan. 16 at the United Methodist Church of Sun City Center, Room 30. A documentary film about surviving domestic violence will be shown. Admission is free.
Meanwhile, Rossdeutscher hopes lots of folks turn out for “Dancing through the Decades.”
“It will be a whole bunch of fun for an important cause,” she said. “After all, it’s ultimately about protecting our children and grandchildren.”
For more information, email Rossdeutscher at Louanner45@gmail.com/, call her at 847-524-9215 or visit www.sccblueheart.org/. You may also call Helen DePinto at 734-904-5679.