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What is Merry Christmas, Nate?

Five years ago when I was about to turn 30 years old I decided that instead of birthday presents, I wanted people to help me change lives for my birthday. That campaign was called, "Happy Birthday, Nate." I partnered with World Vision and raised money for mosquito nets to combat Malaria in at-risk parts of the world. By the time the 7-month campaign was over, we raised almost $34,000 and bought nets to protect 11,236 kids from Malaria.

Christmas is about a man who came to Earth to set captives free, and "Merry Christmas, Nate" wants to follow in that example. Imagine if you gave a Christmas gift that could quite literally free someone from slavery, and teach them to live the life they were meant to! Now you can.

The Need:

A couple years ago, I was speaking with a staff member of an organization called, Wings of Refuge. A large sex trafficking bust had just been in the news, and I asked her if she was excited so many people were rescued. She said she was, but there seemed to be more. She continued that even if we were to rescue all the victims of sex trafficking, there would not be enough places for them to go. She told me that without that need met, most of them would be forced back into the sex trade either through coercion or need. You might think this is something that only happens in other places – not here in Iowa. The truth is that Des Moines is the intersection for the only two main Interstates that run from coast-to-coast and border-to-border, I-80 and I-35. Imagine the amount of sex slaves that are trucked through Iowa every day.

So this is both a local, and nationwide campaign!

The Solution

Very practically, the solution is for these victims to have a place to go to learn life skills that make it possible for them to live an independent and confident life. Most victims are forced into the sex trade around the ages of 11-14 years old. Because of this, they may not know how to do things as simple as balance a checking account, or schedule a regular dentist appointment.

Having professionally trained staff to come alongside of these participants is invaluable, and the only way to help them create a proud life of self-sufficiency. Wings of Refuge rescues girls from anywhere in the US, from LA to NYC. This is not a 30-, 60-, or 90-day facility. The participants stay until they are ready to make it on their own.

The Ask

Wings of Refuge operates out of a small Iowa town where the participants are able to sort of "detox" from the lifestyle. The quiet town provides a sanctuary from would-be traffickers, and also provides little-to-no distractions for recovery. At some point, however, participants are ready to get a job or continue education at some level. The challenge is that in this small Iowa town there is no public means of transportation or taxis or services like Uber or Lyft. Participant's opportunities to grow are limited by the place that once saved their life.

The board of Wings of Refuge have proposed a second location, one that could be a next step in the growth of the participants, one in or around the greater Des Moines area. With services like Uber and Lyft, good jobs and education don’t appear as far away. This will allow the participants to be more independent and start living the life that was almost robbed from them. This is where you come in to help make that happen...

My goal is to raise $750,000 for Wings of Refuge to purchase a home large enough, and with enough privacy for security reasons, to have that second location in, or around, the greater Des Moines area.

5 years ago we saved 11,234 lives together.

This year, lets save millions.

How you can help:

1. Donate!

I'm asking that anyone that is able, to donate any amount you can to the following link, as my Christmas gift. This is a large goal, but we can meet it together.

2. Share, Tell, and Network!

I need anyone who would like to help me do this, to share this page, the video, and any updates on Facebook. Spread the word to your friends, family, church, workplace, and total strangers. Tell the news stations, newspapers, and radio hosts, and any person of influence you can think of in your personal circle. We need everyone!

3. Follow!

Follow "Merry Christmas, Nate" and Wings of Refuge on Facebook to raise awareness (did I mention you should share?) and see updates as we go!

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