SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Fundraisers for nonprofits don’t always fit the pattern of what took place on Friday night west of Sioux Falls.
The fundraiser for Sioux Falls nonprofit Call to Freedom, which helps victims of human trafficking as well as sexual exploitation, began as a project for college for 18-year-old Abigail Elliott of Brandon. There is a reason the event was a masquerade ball.
“I chose masquerade because human trafficking is such a hidden crime,” Elliott said. “Victims are often right in front of you, yet rarely are seen, and that’s why I chose masquerade for this event for Call to Freedom.”
Elliott organized Friday night’s fundraiser.
“Call to Freedom stuck out to me because I didn’t realize human trafficking happened right here in Sioux Falls, South Dakota,” Elliott said. “And if I didn’t know that, who else didn’t know this.”
“Abigail reached out to me in February, and said she had a school project that she was thinking she wanted to do, and she had to turn it into a reality and challenge herself,” said Monica Rilling, director of community engagement with Call to Freedom.
“Having been planned this for two months, everything has just been in kind of the idea stage, so seeing it all come together and actually become that reality has been really amazing,” Elliott said.
It doesn’t look at all like your typical college project. Elliott doesn’t want all the credit, either.
“I would just like to thank the community for their incredible generosity because this could not have been possible on my own,” Elliott said.
According to Rilling, Friday’s event raised $52,000.