NEW ORLEANS – The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently presented the Baptist Friendship House with its 2018 Director’s Community Leadership Award.
According to a news release from the FBI, its New Orleans field office nominated the Baptist Friendship House for their extensive work in the fight against human trafficking. Baptist Friendship House Executive Director Kay Bennett and her staff received the award on behalf of their organization during a special ceremony May 3 at the FBI’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The FBI recognized the significant contributions made by the Baptist Friendship House through efforts to rescue victims of human trafficking, and provide them with lodging and food and one-on-one counseling. Additionally, the Baptist Friendship House was recognized for partnering with law enforcement to identify potential victims, share resources and offer options to help human trafficking survivors.
“I am thankful for the FBI recognizing Baptist Friendship House,” Bennett told the Baptist Message. “It was an honor and a humbling experience to receive such an amazing award. As all of the recipients from different states stood together for a photo, I looked around and thought ‘what a beautiful picture of people and organizations working together to help others and to make our communities safer.”
Founded in September 1944, the Baptist Friendship House began its ministry in New Orleans and almost since inception has taken on the responsibility of feeding the New Orleans homeless community. Over the years, this mission became vital to assist providing lodging for homeless women and children in Louisiana through the Baptist Friendship House Transitional Housing Program.
Operating with a limited staff and the generosity of volunteers, the Baptist Friendship House continues to offer a variety of services to those in need.
The staff provided in-house counseling to over 1,100 women and referred another 3,300 to outside counseling. The Baptist Friendship House also offers day programs such as educational course, computer skills, job readiness training, English as a second language, life skills, as well as Bible studies.
In addition to the meals, snack packs, and hygiene products provided to the New Orleans homeless community on a daily basis, the Baptist Friendship House also advocates on behalf of human trafficking victims, and partners with other agencies to assist in legislative recommendations.
Baptist Friendship House has also hosted numerous training courses on human trafficking to bring about awareness on this important matter. Through their hard work and dedication, Baptist Friendship House has assisted nearly 40 human trafficking victims by providing housing, transportation, counseling, clothing, food, hygiene articles, and referrals.