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Lexington nonprofit sees rise in at-risk women needing help

LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – Natalie’s Sisters, a Lexington nonprofit, is seeing an increase in the number of women in need of help.

The group provides services to women who have been sexually exploited or trafficked. Volunteers visit women in clubs and on the streets. They provide at-risk women with home-cooked meals, good conversation and much-needed support.

In 2021, the Sisters of Natalie helped more than 400 women. Since January 2022, more than a hundred new women have passed through their door. The volunteers weren’t expecting the surge of new women, but in an effort not to turn anyone away, they are asking for help to meet the increased demand.

Volunteer chefs are needed on June 20, June 24, June 27 and June 29 to prepare meals for approximately 50 women. They are also needed for most of July.

If interested, email Jani Lewis, Executive Director of Natalie’s Sisters, at [email protected]

In 2021, the Sisters of Natalie served 8,000 meals to women in need. The day Reception center was only open Monday, Wednesday and Friday. But due to the recent increase in the number of women at risk, the center is currently open Monday through Friday, serving breakfast and lunch.

Find out if you qualify for food assistance on their website.

Natalie’s Sisters doesn’t have a food budget. They rely on donations.

If the group does not find volunteer leaders, it will have to pull money from different budgets, which will make it more difficult to provide other services to at-risk women in our community.

“It’s just a great way for people to help at-risk women in our community,” Lewis said. “The people we serve struggle with a variety of medical and mental health issues, substance use disorders, and almost all face homelessness. So these are people who really need your help.

Lewis says the increased need is likely related to the opioid crisis in Lexington. Many women complete the 30 days of rehab, but after that they have nowhere to go. Natalie’s sisters provide much needed love, support and encouragement.

Natalie’s Sisters also accepts donations travel toiletries, snack bags and clothing. For the summer, the group asks for flip flops and blankets.

On June 16, Natalie’s Sisters is sponsoring a Human Trafficking Awareness Seminar in Lexington.

The group partners with Refuge For Women to raise awareness. It is hosted by the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office for the Prevention and Prosecution of Trafficking and Abuse.

The seminar will discuss human trafficking and its new broader definition. Clients will also learn common signs to look out for and how to report suspicious activity. They’ll also get answers to questions they can’t get from Google.

“Hearing it firsthand, listening to examples of local issues and asking questions will give you a much more personal picture of what’s going on in Fayette County,” Lewis said.

Registration for the seminar is not compulsory, but it is encouraged since the room can only accommodate about 200 people.

You can register here.