Photo: Brett Mabe, House of Raeford; FLOCK Coordinator Chuck Underhill; Jen Thompson, executive director Lighthouse; Lisa Kejr; Shelly Lawson, Tuesday. (ColaDaily/Karamie Sullivan)
By Karamie Sullivan
There will soon be a new facility in Richland County to house minors who have been victims of human trafficking.
The safe house, known as Karis Home, has been funded in large part by House of Raeford, the poultry processing plant in West Columbia. House of Raeford’s outreach program FLOCK, has partnered with Lighthouse for Life.
Karis Home will provide a family style environment, with a live-in husband and wife to oversee the minors living there. The facility will house three girls at a time, with the intent of each girl having their own room to decorate and live in. The age range of the girls can be anywhere between 12-21 years old.
Lighthouse for Life is a non-profit organization that was established to educate South Carolinians on the epidemic of local human trafficking. Through the partnership, FLOCK has donated $14,959 to pay for the Karis Home’s security system.
FLOCK Coordinator Chuck Underhill said that the prevalence of human trafficking in the state is what made him want to donate this large sum of money.
“We saw online that they had a need that was specific to the security system, so we discussed it and decided as a company that we wanted to invest in helping them achieve this need,” Underhill says. “FLOCK’s goal is to partner with any organization doing really cool things for the community that make it better – this absolutely fits that prerequisite.”
Underhill hopes that FLOCK’s donation will motivate other businesses in the Midlands to consider investing in this organization. “You feel compelled to do something as a friend, companion, and business person in the community,” he said.
Lighthouse for Life Executive Director Jennifer Thompson has seen this project through its developmental stages. She believes with the help of the House of Raeford’s donation, it will finally be coming into fruition. “This means everything to us,” Thompson says. “Our goal is now to be looking to open Karis Home by the end of July.”
FLOCK stands for Faithful Love Offering for Christ’s Kingdom.