On a recent trip to Thailand, Maine businesswoman Kim Erskine found herself providing a solid foundation for some of the world’s most disadvantaged children, in more ways than one.
She and her husband Pete, who co-founded the popular Maine clothing and accessories chain Mexicali Blues, were visiting a safe house for girls at high risk of abuse and human trafficking, set up and operated by non-profit organization Friends of Thai Daughters. As a board member and donor, Kim has been happy to support the organization’s work – even down to being drafted as a cornerstone for their human pyramid.
Friends of Thai Daughters was launched more than ten years ago by Boothbay residents Jane McBride and Patty Zinkowski when, during a trip to Thailand, they found several homeless and vulnerable girls fending for themselves. A decade on, the organization runs two Sunflower Houses, one located in Chaing Rai and the other in Chiang Khong, near the Laos border. There forty children are brought up through high school and beyond in a loving and supportive family environment, led by indigenous house mothers.
On learning of the organization’s work, Kim joined the FTD Board and Mexicali Blues joined the fundraising effort. Mexicali Blues’ World of Goods program has helped fund the Sunflower Houses, and through its 1% effort, customer purchases continue to support the program.
And, after this most recent trip, the Erskines are committed to visiting as often as they can. “We want the girls to see that we truly care, and showing up and checking in frequently is how you do that. We are truly invested in their success,” Kim said.
On Friday, August 4 a Sunflower Celebration will be held at Darrows Barn in Damariscotta to raise funds for FTD’s growing program. Mexicali Blues, Gallagher, Villeneuve & DeGeer and The First National Bank have stepped up as sponsors. Morning Dew Farm, Oxbow Brewery, Split Rock Distilling, Mook Sea Farm, Long Grain and Best Thai restaurants are all donating food and drink. Country Coach Charters will provide courtesy transportation for Boothbay area guests. Attendees will also have a 1 in 300 chance to win $3,000 in a reverse raffle. Event tickets and additional raffle tickets are available on FTD’s website. For more information about the event, sponsorships, or FTD, visit www.friendsofthaidaughters.org or email Julie@friendsofthaidaughters.org.