Blanket Fort Hope hosts third annual Restoring Hope Gala

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, March 12, 2024

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By EMILY REED | Special to the Reporter

BIRMINGHAM – The third annual Restoring Hope Gala was held Feb. 29 at The Club in Birmingham with proceeds from the event going toward Blanket Fort Hope, a Shelby County-based 501(c)(3), with the focus on helping child survivors of human trafficking.

Roughly $150,000 was raised during this year’s event, with a grand total set to be announced at the end of March.

“Misconceptions about human trafficking are that it is happening in another country or in low-income, high-crime areas only or it is someone in a white van kidnapping a girl,” said Phaedra Galloway, Blanket Fort Hope project manager. “These scenarios are happening, but in the United States, in Alabama, it is happening in high and middle income and by someone the minor trusts; a family member or someone in authority.”

Galloway said this year’s gala was the second time having Christie King as the live auctioneer and the second gala to have television personality James Spann donate his time as the emcee.

“There were lots of seconds at the gala where friend Marnie McCollum with Birdsong in Bloom donated time and flowers for our beautiful centerpieces,” Galloway said. “The second time having Novel Photos donate their photography skills as well.”

There were roughly 270 guests in attendance, a slight increase from the event in 2023.

Alexa James, CEO of Blanket Fort Hope, shared facts and statistics at the event, helping to identify the problem of “why” as it relates to sex trafficking. James shared statistics from the End It Human Trafficking Summit, which was recently held in Montgomery.

Galloway said Blanket Fort Hope will continue to speak, present trainings and build, to not only bring awareness, but bring change; to restore lives of young survivors of sex trafficking who have endured unthinkable trauma.

The next fundraiser for the organization is the sixth annual Hold the Fort 10K, 5K and 1 mile race at Oak Mountain State Park which will be held on Sept. 21. More information about the event can be found at

For more information about Blanket Fort Hope, visit or on social media at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at blanketforthope or on LinkedIn at Blanket Fort Hope.