#sextrafficking | ‘Shower of Hope’ in Westbrook to help two women’s programs in Biddeford/Saco March 20-21 | #tinder | #pof | #match

WESTBROOK — St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Westbrook will host a “Shower of Hope” to lend assistance to two programs that help young women regain and preserve their dignity and self-esteem.

On the weekend of March 20-21, parishioners and community members are asked to bring gift cards and drop them in a special box at the entrance of St. Hyacinth Church, located on 268 Brown Street in Westbrook, before, during, or after scheduled Masses on Saturday (4 p.m.) and Sunday (8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m.). Possibilities for gift cards include Walmart, Family Dollar, Hannaford, Shaw’s, Target and Kohl’s.

All of the gift cards will be donated to CourageLIVES and the Esther House, both operated by the Good Shepherd Sisters (Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary) in Biddeford.

Established in 2015, CourageLIVES is Maine’s first residential treatment program for survivors of sex trafficking as well as a safe house for women 18 years and older. The program provides food, clothing, shelter and counseling for residents, and includes an outreach program for women who live elsewhere. The program first began serving five women and now serves over 125 survivors of human trafficking and their family members annually in many Maine counties.

The Esther Residence, a home in Saco for women who are leaving incarceration or a treatment program, provides a safe, nurturing community that is based on respect and dignity. It focuses on assisting each woman in identifying and celebrating her strengths and gifts. The home is a bridge that promotes healthy connections to family (when appropriate) and to the larger community. Esther Residence also provides short-term housing for women who are awaiting admission to another level of substance-abuse treatment.

The “Shower of Hope” is being organized by the Sodality of St. Anne at St. Anthony of Padua Parish. The sodality is comprised of ladies of the parish who focus on putting Christian values into practice in their daily lives, organizing social and benevolent activities at the parish, and cooperating with other parish groups and organizations to help grow and promote parish and family life.

In the Season of Lent, one of the ways in which we prepare for the celebration of the Paschal mystery of Christ is almsgiving (giving to others through charitable acts), which helps ready us for a spiritual reawakening that brings us closer to Jesus.

For more information or other ways you can help these programs, call 207-854-1199.

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