How we started
Since 2017, Hands2Feet has been blessing women rescued from human trafficking, one act of kindness at a time. Founded by Karen Koczwara, the organization’s annual giving campaigns include Mother’s Day Baskets, Backpack Drive, and a Christmas Gift Drive.
Hands2Feet began when Koczwara partnered with Jim Carson, former project manager at Orangewood Foundation, after learning of a young woman who had just been rescued from “the life.” This woman sought to secure her first apartment and land a stable job, all the while caring for her young daughter.
Starting from scratch, she needed everything, from silverware to work clothing to bath towels and a bed. Koczwara reached out to her local community for help, and the response was overwhelming. When Christmas time rolled around, she again contacted her community to see if they might provide a few gifts for these women and children.
Thus began a movement of generosity across Orange County, as neighbors, friends, family, churches, sports teams and other organizations stepped up to provide a bit of HOPE and JOY. Today, Hands2Feet has blessed dozens of women and children in the program through gifts and acts of love, offering a helping hand as they get back on their feet.
Rebuilding lives one act of kindness at a time
We aim to bring a bit of hope back to their lives in the most practical ways. A new bed. A nice jacket for a job interview. A home cooked meal at the holidays. Christmas gifts for their children. Every little bit helps.
Meet our team
A California native, Karen is a mother to four teens, a published writer, a yoga instructor, and an avid dog lover. As a former single teenage mother, Karen has a heart for women who have fallen on hard times. Her favorite holiday is Christmas because she loves giving (and well, to be honest, getting!) gifts. She hopes Hands2Feet will continue to bless many women and children in need of a little hope and joy.
For over 25 years, Jim Carson served children and young adults who had been sex trafficked. He became a leader in the anti-trafficking field and created many programs that provided services for victims and survivors. He offered educational presentations throughout the state of California, trained service providers and front line workers on trafficking awareness and served on anti-trafficking commissions and task forces for over two decades. In addition to partnering with Hands2Feet, he started his own organization, Survivor2Leader. On October 25, 2022, Jim sadly passed away. He leaves behind a vast legacy and remains in the hearts of many women and children he so faithfully helped.
Amy and Karen have literally been friends their whole lives, so when Karen began Hands2Feet, Amy jumped at the opportunity to volunteer. She finds true joy in helping people discover their best, most authentic life, so it was a perfect match. Amy's vast career background includes product development, project management, sales, and most recently her own virtual wedding coach business, Irene's Bells.
With a strong background in financial management and a deep commitment to the organization's mission, Bill is responsible for developing and implementing financial strategies, overseeing the budget, managing fundraising efforts, and ensuring the organization's resources are used effectively and efficiently. Bill works directly with the team at Hands2Feet to provide support and resources and through his leadership and dedication, the organization has made a significant impact in the lives of countless mothers and their families.
Where you least expect it
The Troubling Truth
Anaheim, California – home to the Happiest Place on Earth. Each year, thousands flock to Disneyland to ride roller coasters, munch on cotton candy and visit Mickey Mouse. Yet just down the street, on Harbor Boulevard, a certain darkness lurks.
Known as “the track,” young girls are trafficked here, their bodies sold against their will for money. It is a horror like none other, men of all demographics taking advantage of them over and over each night. Doctors. Lawyers. School teachers. Clean-cut fathers and husbands. These are the paying customers, the ones who keep the pimps in the biz. It is a world away from the Happiest Place on Earth, yet just a few blocks away.
Just up the 405 freeway in South Orange County, more horror lurks. Amidst million-dollar homes, Mercedes Benz cars and perfectly manicured golf courses, trafficking takes place in local hotels. Internet sites make “ordering” a girl as easy as ordering a pizza. With just a few clicks of the mouse, customers can find what they want. Most go unnoticed as they slip in and out of hotel rooms. While some sites get shut down, others pop up, making it difficult for law enforcement to catch the bad guys and quantify the number of perpetrators and victims.
There are certain numbers, of course, though they are rough at best. In 2016, an estimated 1 in 6 runaways reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were likely sex trafficking victims. Of those, 86% were in the care of social services or foster care, though many came from affluent homes too. The average age of a girl who becomes sex trafficked? 14-16 years old, though many are as young as 10 and 11 when they are coerced into “the life.” Other vulnerable populations include homeless youth, as well as victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, war or social discrimination. And as for Orange County, home to Disneyland, postcard-perfect beaches and millionaires? One reputable source estimates that perhaps 40 to 50% of men in the area have paid for sex at one time or another. It’s a staggering reality to swallow.
A common misconception is that girls who are trafficked somehow choose this lifestyle. This could not be further from the truth. Sex traffickers use violence, threats, lies and other forms of coercion to compel them to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. Many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces or manipulates them into prostitution. Others are lured in with false promises of a job, such as modeling or dancing. For some, terrible things occur at home, and parents or other family members force them to sell sex. Some girls remain captive for days. Others remain captive for years. Then, the cycle begins – abuse, manipulation and force. It is a living nightmare – childhoods stolen, fear instilled, hope lost.
"When you know better, do better"
Sex trafficking is currently the second most lucrative business in the world next to drug dealing. It is also the fastest growing criminal activity in the world. Unlike cocaine, sex cannot be packaged, measured and sold until it’s gone. Human beings (both boys and girls!) remain the prominent commodity. This heinous crime will not end anytime soon, but we can all do our part to spread awareness. As Maya Angelou once said, “When you know better, do better.” So now that we know, it’s time to make a difference in our world!
Crisp clean air, the smell of fresh salt water and spam musubi from the manapua man's cart. The cold, clear ocean pushing white waters, I feign to catch a wave. This is my home. This beautiful island of Hawaii. I was raised in simplicity with Aloha and pride. Ten years of a carefree childhood. And then reality turned into a fairytale, a foreign land. I relocated to California, Orange County, the city of midnight terror, Anaheim.
I moved in with the relative who holds the title of High Chief for my whole family. It was then that He taught me such vocabulary words. He used a devilish act to define God’s purpose for love, for unity between two people. He violated and destroyed my house. Like a thief at night, he crept into my room and took my innocence. He forced me to become a woman. I thought it was okay as long as it was only him and me. But then I turned 12.
I bloomed two springs before my set year. Now it was him, them, and me. I guess he figured it was summertime. It was as if I was the only pool, fresh, clean, and open for all to enter (with the fee of course!) For nine years, I put a smile on my face. I formed new masks to fit in with wherever society placed me. I was bright, intellectual, and prolific at generating warm vibes.
My exterior was fierce and fiery while my interior was dark, distant, a dead cold corpse in winter. Nine years of brutal control, worthless feels, meaningless rape, and lost time. Oh how I would pray to fall back to the times when the only care I had was to live in simplicity with Aloha and pride.
How we helped
It was summertime again, and I was about to turn 20 when my prayers were answered. God sent me an angel by the name of Jim. He blessed me with a new way of life, a different perspective, and the will and strive to continue to live. I am 23 years old now, a beautiful young woman with the creative talented mind, dealing with young adult drama like work, fashion, and soon college, slowly healing, finding and owning myself daily.
There are many seasons in life, and I am thankful for them all because I have survived the hot, sweaty heat of summer, the death of a cold corpse in winter, the beginning of shedding in fall, and the healing and replenishing life in spring. I made it through!
1 Corinthians 10:13: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
We need your help
Donate today to make a difference
Your generosity will help us provide these families with the resources they need to get back on their feet and find hope and joy during the holidays.
Please join us in our mission to support these brave women and give them the gift of a brighter future. Thank you for your support.