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For the past five years, Ellie Sachse of Cleveland Park has been collecting Halloween candy for D.C.’s sex workers. Last year, her neighbors donated some 80 pounds of the stuff, which was then handed off from vans owned and operated by HIPS (Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive).
The drive is on again this year and Sachse invites dropoffs at her home on Newark Street (for the specific address, log onto the Cleveland Park Listserv). She writes in a post: “These people are often hungry and cannot otherwise get food while they are working. While they enjoy the candy they have access to important advice on health and other services available for them. HIPS’ aim is to reduce harm not only to their clients, but to the community.”
In a phone interview, Sachse says she got involved through her daughter, who worked for HIPS through the Americorps program. Ellie Sachse then served on the board.
The candy drive continues, in part, “because I know when I had kids I’d give my eye teeth to get the candy out of the house….I don’t want that to end up on my hips, either.”
She acknowledges candy isn’t the most nutritious food item to give to a busy sex worker. But it’s something, it’s energy, she says, and prostitutes often have to grab and go; many are not allowed to have a meal while working.
“I’m sure if they had piles of fruit, they’d give that out…but this time of year, there’s a lot going on. There’s a lot of candy,” she says.
(photo by JJ & Special K)