Beloved Bundles go to Florida!

If you were to ask Molly where she grew up, she would enthusiastically respond, “Florida.” Winter Park, Florida to be exact. While she did not graduate high school from Winter Park High School, because we moved to Texas in her sophomore year, she always considered Florida her true home. In fact, she was able to return to Florida twice in 2017 before her death on April 10. She loved nothing more than being back in her old stomping grounds and knocking on neighbors’ doors for a surprise visit!

In May of 2018, some of our dearest and oldest friends held a fund raiser for Project Beloved. I traveled back to Winter Park to attend. It was wonderful to be in the company of so many who have known and loved Molly Jane from the time she was three years old. To say the event was a success would be an understatement…in excess of $8000 was raised from a single gathering in a home.

These are the lovely hosts of the fund raiser in Winter Park.

These are the lovely hosts of the fund raiser in Winter Park.

As we launched Project Beloved in April,  we determined we could create Beloved Bundles to give to survivors of sexual assault when they go to the hospital for a forensic exam. It is our hope the Beloved Bundles not only provide items of necessity but also serve in some small, tangible way to restore dignity to those who have experienced sexual assault. Given we are in Fort Worth, it made perfect sense to make our first donations locally. The Women’s Center of Tarrant County received our first Beloved Bundles in May, in honor of Molly’s 24th birthday.

However, we also knew we needed and wanted to expand beyond the boundaries of Fort Worth. The Orlando area was a natural fit given Molly’s connection to it. I contacted Victim Service Center of Central Florida to inquire as to whether Beloved Bundles would be a useful tool in their efforts to assist survivors of sexual assault. They enthusiastically welcomed our offer to donate.

On September 6, a group of individuals (some we knew and some we did not) gathered to assemble the Beloved Bundles which would be donated to Victim Service Center, who also sent two representatives from their organization to participate in the assembly process. By the end of the evening, 50 Beloved Bundles were packed and ready to be delivered to their new home. Once completed they prayed this prayer over the Beloved Bundles:

Dear God,
We pray that these Beloved Bundles will be a blessing to those who receive them. We ask that you pour out your peace and comfort to them in the way that only you can do, Father. When they tell their story, we pray that those who listen will hear them and believe them. We pray for the advocates and the SANEs who work with the survivors. We ask that you give them the words to say and ears to hear. If the criminal justice system is a part of their story, we pray, Lord, that it brings justice to the survivor.Lord, more than anything, we pray that they know, no matter what, they are beloved. Amen

Grateful to each individual who gave of their time and their resources to bring Beloved Bundles to Florida.

Today, September 10, the 17 month anniversary of Molly Jane’s death, Beloved Bundles were officially given to Victim Service Center. Bianca Sabrkhani, Development and Communications Director told me, “Your donations will go a long way in supporting victims of sexual assault in Central Florida and will provide them a great deal of comfort while they are in our care.” And that is why we do what we do!

It is remarkable to see my desire to bring light, Molly Jane’s light, to the darkness which covered our world on April 10, 2017, become reality. My heart is full knowing we are doing real work to change the conversation about sexual assault and empower survivors to find their voices. Clearly there is more work to be done, and we are more committed than ever to do it.