Hold the Fort Races to raise money for trafficking survivors’ restoration home

Published 11:20 am Monday, June 26, 2023

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By EMILY SPARACINO | Special to the Reporter

PELHAM – A local nonprofit organization dedicated to helping child sex trafficking survivors is fundraising for a project aimed at expanding its services.

The nonprofit, called Blanket Fort Hope, is in the process of building a nine-bedroom restoration home in Columbiana for trafficking survivors ages 12-19.

“We are a nonprofit that believes in restoration and hope for every child trafficking survivor,” Blanket Fort Hope Marketing Coordinator Kat Beatty said. “Our focus is on supplying therapeutic housing and support services, foster care training and ongoing advocacy and education in our communities.”

As a part of its fundraising efforts, Blanket Fort Hope will hold its fifth annual Hold the Fort Races on Saturday, Sept. 16 from 8-11 a.m. at Oak Mountain State Park.

The event includes a 10K, 5K and 1-mile Warrior Walk. Cash prizes will be given for the top overall male and female participants for the 10K and 5K races.

Mills Pharmacy is sponsoring registrant entry into the race, which means all proceeds from the event will go toward the $1.5 million restoration home project.

“That is really awesome,” Beatty said. “It will be our first home for trafficking survivors. When trafficking survivors are rescued, they will come to our home and get all of the immediate treatment that they need before going into foster care.”

Beatty said event organizers are anticipating another good turnout for the Hold the Fort Races.

“Last year, we had about 150 runners,” she said. “This year, we expect to have about 200. Everyone that signs up gets entered into our giveaways, and there are some pretty awesome giveaways.”