About the Beloved Bag By Kathryn Guthrie, Founder
When I first began doing street outreach I was trained to do two things when we encountered someone who was "in the life": 1) Respectfully look her in the eye when you speak to her and 2) Be aware of her body language- is she calm as you as you are talking to her or is she nervously looking around as if she is being watched.
Many times it was the latter- she is constantly being watched by her abuser/trafficker/PIMP. Her thoughts would be racing- "Where is he", "Is he going to see me talking to this woman he doesn't know", "Am I going to be punished (slapped, punched, kicked or worse)". In those cases, we would discreetly hand her a card with our Hotline number on it, tell her "call this number if you need help" and quickly walk away in order to not make a potentially dangerous situation even worse for her. At the end of the night, as our team shared who had touched our hearts, we would pray for her safety . We knew if her trafficker found the card there would be a consequence for her and the card would most likely be torn up and thrown away. She would need help...but sadly...we would most likely never hear from her. What if we could give her something the trafficker would not be interested in...something he wouldn't take from her... that would be her lifeline?
We designed custom made bags with long straps, beautiful fabric, a liner, pockets and our solution inside- our
helpline number sewn into the liner of the inside pocket. We partnered with women who sew at church groups to assemble the bags and sew in the hotline number so that it couldn't be easily seen. The bags are then filled with necessity items such as: shampoo, conditioner, body soap, lotion, a hair brush, tooth brush, toothpaste, a Bible and much more. But what would we call these potentially life saving bags? God gave us a verse from Hosea.
"...and she who was not loved, I will call Beloved..." Hosea 2:23
And thus, the Beloved Bag was born. Since the inception of the Beloved Bags, we have put them in the hands of over 200 women giving them a lifeline to reach out for a new future. Please join us in praying for these sweet women to take the empowered step of reaching out.