Staff Report

More than 40 people of all ages participated in the Santa Ynez Valley’s first Pong vs. Slavery event, a “ping pong-a-thon” on Saturday, Sept. 29, to help raise awareness of human trafficking and modern-day slavery. By the end of October, the group had raised almost $10,000 for the cause.

The Ping Pong-A-Thon organization combats human trafficking and exploitation of young people in Southeast Asia, where two-thirds of the world’s slaves live, through table tennis events held around the world every fall. Participants are asked to gather sponsors to raise funds to support the work of eight organizations who combat human trafficking.

Though the local event was hosted by Ranch Church, the entire community was invited to participate. A number of Dunn School students took part, for example.

“I was so touched that young kids even made donations — it could have come from their allowance or they may have asked family and friends,” said event organizer Ceci Stenger. “Regardless, that gesture alone was so touching and it showed they understood why we were doing the event.”

Donations are still being accepted at Checks made payable to The Freedom Story can be mailed to Ceci Stenger at PO Box 8015, Los Alamos, CA 93440.