In the United States alone, at least 100,000 children are exploited through prostitution every year. Based on the facts, it is easy to understand how an individual might feel completely helpless and alone in the fight against child sex trafficking. Gail Ferguson, a baker from Virginia Beach, Virginia, understands the powerless feeling that tends to overwhelm individuals who desire to make a difference in the trafficking of children.
When a bicycle accident put Gail out of work, she started baking in order to make ends meet. Eventually, Gail became a licensed baker and started to work out of local restaurants. Gail was asked to bake around 300 cake pops for a women’s conference at her church. She soon realized that such a large number of cake pops was no easy task for one woman, and she vowed that day to never make another cake pop! However, the vow was short lived when Gail realized her tasty treats were a huge hit. Everything clicked for Gail when she was able to hear presenters from the conference talk about the realities of the sex trafficking industry.
“I realized that God could use the little cake pops in a big way to make a difference in a child’s life that is caught in human trafficking. And it was something that I could do now!”
Gail knew at that moment how she could use her passion and talent for baking to combat the sex trafficking industry, and she realized she could do so from her kitchen.
Gail started small. She began selling her newly named Freedom Pops at local coffee shops in the area. She was able to display brochures and information from the conference’s organization alongside her Freedom Pops, and she gave the organization a percentage of her profits. Soon, a friend of Gail’s brought Freedom Pops to her office at the Christian Broadcasting Network. Again, Gail’s desserts were a hit, and she received numerous calls for orders. One of the calls happened to be an interview request about Gail and her Freedom Pops. Gail was ecstatic about the prospect of an outstanding boost in business; however, she had a funny feeling in her gut that it was not the right time to grow her business.“I knew that orders would soon come in from everywhere, and I was still doing this out of my home. As much as I wanted to say yes, I knew that I had to wait for this interview to happen. I knew I needed to take my time to give this the best I had. I knew I would have more miracles to talk about and better opportunities to share with the world if I waited.
Although unknown to Gail, the timing was actually perfect. That same day, Gail watched an interview on CBN with Shared Hope International’s founder Linda Smith. Gail was so moved and inspired by all the work that Linda and Shared Hope International were doing both abroad and in the United States to stop human trafficking. She began displaying Shared Hope’s brochures alongside her Freedom Pops. According to Gail, that’s when the ball really started rolling.
The following December, she had so many orders for Freedom Pops ranging from treats for bible study groups to Christmas gifts for businesses’ VIP customers, not to mention the growing demand from her usual coffee shop and restaurant orders. Although her business was growing each day, she knew that this was the perfect time to take her stand in the fight against human trafficking.
“I felt that God was telling me to give all my profit in the month of December to Shared Hope. And so I did. And to top it off, that month Shared Hope was matching all the gifts that were being given.”
Gail continues to use her Freedom Pops as her way to take a stand and make a difference in the lives of children caught in the sex trafficking industry.
“They have helped make people aware of this crime and the growing rate that it is taking place in our world. I see so many of us pulling together , knowing it is going to take all of us working together to put a stop to human trafficking and see freedom become a reality for these children.”Although the fight is far from over, Gail and her Freedom Pops serve as a constant reminder that one person can make a difference in the fight against trafficking. The power to end human trafficking lies within individuals like Gail who utilize their skills and passions to raise awareness and bring about change within their communities.
Interested in learning how you, like Gail, can make a difference in the lives of children right now? Visit http://sharedhope.org/GetInvolved.aspx for details on how to start.
For more information about Freedom Pops, or to place an order, contact Gail at freedompopsAOoco@gmail.com