A race for freedom

Freedom 4/24 holds eighth annual 5k to benefit victims of human trafficking

Freedom 4/24 hosted its eighth annual Run 4 Their Lives 5k and fun run April 30 on Liberty University’s campus.


The organization exists to raise awareness of the sexual exploitation and trafficking of women and children around the world, according to its website, freedom424.org.

It provides financial support by partnering with organizations that are dedicated to bringing freedom and justice to those women and children.

Run 4 Their Lives is just one event the organization takes part in to help raise awareness and fundraising for partnering organizations.

Joy Marinelli, national race director for the organization said this event in particular helps greatly.

“Our Lynchburg run is one of our biggest, so we feel that the success of this event will help us move even more positively toward our annual financial goals,” Marinelli said.

This race brought in almost $5,000 from over 85 different donors. Marinelli believes this is partly because of the increased opportunity of sharing the beliefs of the organization at Convocation.

One of the main goals of the organization has been to increase the audience reach, according to Marinelli.

“Aside from increasing our speaking engagements this year, we also had the amazing opportunity to share about Freedom 4/24 in Convocation,” Marinelli said. “This was a major accomplishment for us.”

Besides increasing the awareness by adding events, the organization is also working hard to increase the monthly donors.

They are looking to increase their overall income to be able to give more financially to their partners.

According to the Freedom 4/24 website, it costs $155 per month to provide aftercare to girls rescued from brothels in Nagpur, India.

That is just the beginning of the work that the organization strives to accomplish. It takes even more money to be able to begin searching for and rescuing girls and women from the slavery they are in.

FUND RUN — More than 85 donors raised nearly $5,000 for Freedom 4/24 during the Run 4 Their Lives 5k. Photo provided

FUND RUN — More than 85 donors raised nearly $5,000 for Freedom 4/24 during the Run 4 Their Lives 5k. Photo provided

Looking towards the future, the organization’s vision remains the same as in wanting to increase the funding to partners both domestic and international, according to Marinelli.

Freedom 4/24 also wants to increase trip opportunities for the organization.

“We love taking teams to visit and work with our partners,” Marinelli said.

Liberty University has its own Freedom 4/24 chapter on campus for students to become easily involved and partner with the organization.

Sarah Finkbeiner, chapter president, shared how the group has been working to increase its presence on campus. The year has been busy with many campus events, including fundraising volleyball tournaments and prayer vigils.

“As a club we would love to reach a larger portion of the student body with our various events so that we can better financially support our domestic and international partner organizations,” Finkbeiner said.

The chapter’s desire is for students to become passionate about joining the fight in some way, according to Finkbeiner.

“Our hope is for students to be educated and enabled so that they will then be inspired to take action themselves and carry the movement across the nation,” Finkbeiner said.

Those interested in learning more about Freedom 4/24 can visit www.freedom424.org to learn about and get involved with the work they continue to do to help end sex trafficking around the world. More information about the Liberty chapter of Freedom 4/24 can be found at www.facebook.com/Freedom424atLU.

Whittaker is a feature reporter.

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