Freedom 4/24 coordinates third-annual event supported by donations of various gently-used clothing items
Racks of tweed, cotton and silk ensembles decorated Tresca on 8th, Thursday, Sept. 27, for Freedom 4/24’s third annual Frocks 4 Freedom fashion sale.
The two-day event, which gives women the chance to buy donated clothes to help support Christian organization Freedom 4/24’s fight against worldwide human sex trafficking, has gained the attention of Liberty students and residents across Central Virginia.
“I really like (Frocks 4 Freedom). I didn’t know it was like this, but I’m really happy to be here,” Liberty senior Becca Hellman said. “It’s a fun atmosphere.”
Many shoppers came in groups, looking for deals at a fun and charitable night out.
“I’m really enjoying it. I’ve been enjoying looking at all of the clothes, but I also like knowing that the money is going to a good cause,” sophomore Carley Lagerquist said.
“It’s just been such a cool thing to watch evolve over the last three years and see what God’s done with it,” event organizer Johanna Calfee said. “Every year it’s bigger. Every year, more people come. Every year, we have better things to sell. So we are really grateful for an opportunity to do something that is much bigger than clothes, that can impact something that is close to the heart of God.”
According to Calfee, this event is the result of the selfless contributions of donors and friends, along with the inspiration she felt after returning from her first mission trip to Thailand three years ago.
“I got back and I felt helpless to do anything here on our own turf,” Calfee said. “I was standing in my closet one day, and I literally felt like I was given inspiration to do this. I remember looking through the racks and thinking, ‘I have so many clothes that I am not wearing. They are in great condition, and I bet a lot of my friends do too. If I asked them to clean out their closets, what would happen?’”
The donations, which included J.Crew, Ralph Lauren and other name brand items, were among the many clothing pieces sold during both the exclusive VIP night on Sept. 26 and the public event on Sept. 27.
“People were so generous. We had new things with tags on them (donated),” Calfee said. “We have exceeded our expectations as far as people coming out. Last night was our VIP night. About 30 people showed up, and we raised about $2,000 just in that first night. What a great way to start.”
The VIP night was a $24 admission-required event that gave customers first access to the donations.
“Those people last night got some really great deals,” Calfee said. “We had about five or six coach bags, and one woman swooped them up, which is great because she paid for the opportunity to do that. So we were just really pleased by the results from last night.”
According to Calfee, about 300 shoppers came to shop during the sale, raising about $7,500 to help free women from the sex industry.
“The big thing is as women, we love clothes, and I think we wake up every day, and we get to put on our face based on what we wear,” Calfee said. “When I think about what I saw and experienced in Thailand, those women don’t have anything. They don’t have the opportunity. They are stripped of humanity.”
This event, which Freedom 4/24 hopes to continue for many years to come, is a way to raise money to give women in Thailand, Uganda and other areas of the world a chance to break out of the sex trade for at least 24 hours and hear the gospel for the first time.
“It’s just another way that we can bring women together for a common cause of helping other women (who) are exploited have freedom,” Leah Zealand, wife of Freedom 4/24 president Mike Zealand, said.
In addition to Frocks 4 Freedom, Freedom 4/24 raises money through other events across the United States. One of their most notable events is Run 4 Their Lives, which will take place Oct. 20 at Heritage High School.
Registration is open for that event, and participants can sign up at r4tl.com.
“If you could do something to help women half-way across the world, why wouldn’t you?” Calfee said.
For more information about Freedom 4/24 and Frocks 4 Freedom, visit freedom424.org.