Rallying for an Important Cause in Fort Myers

Associates host drive to provide comfort and hope for human trafficking survivors

basket-350In honor of Women’s History Month, the Fort Myers Chapter of Women at Gartner and the Client Services Organization Volunteer Committee recently partnered with the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking (FCAHT) to provide 525 “Freedom Packs” — a collection of personal care items — for local victims rescued from human trafficking. These simple but necessary items, such as shampoo and toothpaste, can provide an immediate sense of comfort and hope for a new life for survivors of trafficking. ​

Campuswide competition and drivecollecting-supplies-350

The Freedom Pack drive was a campuswide competition, with all three buildings participating. The team in each building that collected the most Freedom Packs was treated to a homemade dessert from the Gartner Fort Myers Sweet Geeks baking club.

“When I heard about the drive, I knew immediately that I wanted to contribute personally,” said Gia Barnwell, Campus Recruiter. “To imagine that someone didn’t have toothpaste or feminine products that I regularly take for granted was a true reality check for me.”

“What I really loved was that my colleague, Sheree Crawford, didn’t just say “I’m in” — she instantly sent out a call to action to our team,” Gia continued. “Before long, we were all pitching in for this amazing cause. At some point in our lives, we’ve all needed someone to help us, and I am so excited that Gartner affords me the opportunity to pay it forward continuously.”

“To think that giving a few personal hygiene items would or could mean so much to an individual is heart-wrenching but so rewarding,” said Coleen Thompson, Client Partner, who spearheaded her team’s efforts in collecting 60 Freedom Packs.

“The little things can make such a huge impact,” she added. “I am honored to have the opportunity to rally with other caring, considerate and giving individuals here at Gartner to make a difference.”

Close to home

Florida is the third state in the U.S. for trafficking activity, and southwest Florida is the largest hub for trafficking within the state.

supplies-350“It’s unbelievable that human trafficking — modern-day slavery — is so prevalent, and it’s scary to know that it’s happening in our own backyard,” said Jeff Harvey, Client Partner and member of the Client Services Organization (CSO) Volunteer Committee. “I’m really glad that we had the opportunity to help local survivors and raise awareness for this cause in the process.”

“Knowing human rights violations have happened and are still present in the SWFL area, we must do everything possible to fight these atrocities near and far,” added David Alpert, Account Executive. “For the victims, we hope the bags and contents collected will provide a stepping stone to recovery from the struggles they faced.”


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