Buying Freedom

Invest in something priceless this holiday season


I’m not a big shopper. Never have been. My mother, on the other hand?  She could win awards were shopping a competitive sport. For me, it’s a necessary evil and, I’ll be honest, sometimes I resent Eve for upending the future for all womankind.

I shop for myself may be twice a year and get everything I need from three stores. That’s all I can take. I dodge between them in a triangular fashion racing through the try-ons and swap-outs with the singular goal of being DONE so I can return home to the same pair of pajama pants I’ve worn for ten years.

But today I want to tell you about a place I’ve come to LOVE to shop. There are no crowds pushing and shoving, nary a Cinnabon in sight and no pesky salespeople asking if I need help every ninety seconds.

Rethreaded is a faith-based organization in Jacksonville, FL helping free women from the sex trade and seeking to unravel its effect on their lives. Most of us have heard about this multibillion dollar industry which is fueled by the exploitation of women and children but we don’t realize it’s happening in our own backyards.

Less than two miles from my home is an area known for prostitution and the folks from Rethreaded regularly reach out to women there as well as ones who’ve found themselves in prison. The goal? To offer them hope through relationship and provide a viable alternative for employment.

Instead of judgement they offer friendship, instead of turned-up noses, a warm welcome.

Rethreaded is a safe place where women are paid a living wage to become artisan seamstresses. They also partner with organizations around the globe by reselling products made by their employees who’ve been freed from the sex trade in other countries.

Although I’m not a huge shopper, I’m passionate about this cause and the awesome products and shopping ease make Rethreaded my first stop for gift-buying as well as treats for myself. I’ve purchased some of my very favorite possessions here–the Sari Bari bag that holds all the books I love to keep near me, a cute summer purse, the wallet I use everyday and my newest purchase? The Grace Scarf.


Here’s me in the Grace Scarf, left, and my friend Stacy in a Sari Bari scarf. The women hired by Rethreaded are recycling donated t-shirts to create the Grace Scarves and, at $17, they make perfect gifts for the women on your Christmas list.


Heather, Jamie and I loaded up on Grace Scarves at a recent warehouse sale. We walked away with shopping for teachers, coaches, and loved ones d-o-n-e, done.

And that’s not to mention the gifts I’ve purchased in the past: matching Punjammies (pajama pants) for my aunt and cousin, a blue apron for Mom, cloth-covered journals for birthday gifts for our daughters’ friends and Dream Ditty Bags for this year’s stockings. I could go on!

If you’re local, their 2nd Annual “Shop For Freedom” event is this Saturday December 14th which means the warehouse is open from 10am – 4pm. (TIP: Go early!! Stuff goes fast). Check out the event on Facebook or on the Rethreaded website.

Not local? That’s okay! You can still shop online or show your support using the ideas listed below.

Other simple ways you can support Rethreaded?

Ladies, if your shopping mojo is a fraction of Mom’s I know you’ve got it in you to put your money where your mouth is. How about skipping the Target-Amazon-department-store route in favor of a business that’s making an eternal impact in the lives of women? No stress, no parking nightmares and no bruised elbows.

And you’ll be home in time (or still at home, if shopping online) to make a healthy meal and skip the fast food and related effects that are an inevitable part of mall-shopping. Instead, you can digest the satisfaction of having put your shopping dollars to work toward buying freedom. Is there really a greater purchase?

Author’s note: Since I’ve never promoted shopping before I want to be clear there’s nothing in this for me. I’m passionate about this cause and hope to connect you with an organization that’s doing important work. For many women, Rethreaded is a game-changer. May it be so for your shopping too.

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