Returning Dignity to Victims of Sexual Violence


January was Human Trafficking month and the Fremont Elks Lodge No. 2121’s Activities Committee wanted to spotlight this issue by educating the Elks community about sexual violence and human trafficking in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The California Bay Area freeways throughout San Francisco, Alameda and Sacramento counties are one of the most active transportation corridors for human trafficking. When a raid is conducted by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department to rescue victims of human trafficking, the victims’ only possessions are often just the clothes on their back.  Or, when a victim of sexual assault enters a SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) facility for an examination, they often surrender their clothing for forensic evidence. The victims often only have paper examination gowns to wear home.  The Grateful Garments Project ( provides backpacks filled with new clothes, underwear and toiletries.

The Committee presented information about the Grateful Garments Project to lodge members through handouts, brochures and posters. A donation bin was placed in the lobby so that members could donate new clothing to the Project. The Committee received an Elks 150th Anniversary Grant to fund this project.

The goal was to fill 25 backpacks by the end of January 2018 for the Grateful Garment Project’s “Pack-it-Forward” program, which strives to restore dignity to commercially sexually exploited children and other sex trafficking victims. The following items were needed to fill the backpacks: sweat pants or pajama bottoms, sweatshirts, sports bras, underwear, T-shirts, socks/booties, flip flops or slip-on sandals, small blankets, and various gift cards.

The Lodge members/community paid it forward by donating seven large boxes filled with new backpacks, clothing and toiletries. This was enough to fill 25 backpacks and more. The Fremont Elks made a difference by providing these items to help make victims as comfortable as possible, and to help restore some of their well-deserved dignity after their traumatic experience.


Fellow Fremont Elks Members

January is Human Trafficking month and so the Activities Committee wanted to highlight this issue since the Bay Area is such a hot area for human trafficking. With your help, we are trying to put together 25 backpacks to donate to the Grateful Garments Project. When a raid is done and victims of human trafficking are rescued, they often do not have anything with them other than the clothes on their back. Or when a victim of sexual assault enters a SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) facility for an examination, they are often required to surrender their clothing for forensic evidence. This can leave victims with nothing to wear home except for paper examination gowns. The mission of The Grateful Garment Project is to ensure that every victim of a sexual crime who crosses the threshold of a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) facility or who seeks medical attention and/or law enforcement involvement is provided with whatever new clothing, toiletries, and other miscellaneous items that he or she may require.

There will be a DROP OFF BIN in the lobby of the Fremont Elk’s for the whole month of January.

Please drop off your clothing items there.

The backpacks were purchased by the Elks 150th Anniversary Grant that was given to our lodge.

The following items are needed to fill the backpacks:

Sweat Pants/Pajama Bottoms (Adult and Youth – all sizes)
Sweatshirts (Adult and Youth – all sizes)
Sport Bras (all sizes)
Underwear (for women, men and children) (all sizes)
T-Shirts (Adult and Youth – all sizes)
Flip Flops/Slip or Slip-on Sandals (all sizes)
Blankets (small throw size)
Amazon Gift Cards $10 +
Dollar Tree Gift Cards $20
Kohl’s/Target Gift Cards $25+
Starbucks/Jamba Juice Gift Cards $5

Thank you – The Activities Committee

Diane Shaw, Sonny & Joan Santana, Larry & Jolene Smith, Diane Caceres, Patti Cardoza, Debbie Kueny, Peggy Smith, Cathy Hurst, Gini Gustafson, Sheila Spangler