Last Tuesday, my bible study group had an evening of food and fun. Each of us was encouraged to bring something for two great causes. One cause was Compass. They help homeless families in the area. The other cause was 'Route 1 Ministries.' They offer encouragement and support to women who work at the local strip clubs.
For Compass we were encouraged to bring gift cards - gas cards, grocery cards, bus/train cards etc. It's no surprise that homeless people really need these things and one way to bless these families is to help them take care of their families basic needs. It was really cool to watch so many women bring envelopes with gift cards to the front of the table. I think the girl collected over 20 gift cards.
For Rte 1 ministries each group was given a list of items to put in a bag. We made 35 bags and on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the people of this organization show up at the strip clubs and hand these bags out to the ladies who are working on the holiday.
After our dinner, the women who represent these groups spoke to us about some of the myths and misunderstandings about both homelessness in the area and human trafficking in our local area.
Many people think that the girls who work in a strip club are 'just college girls - making a little money to put themselves through school.' Sadly that's not the reality for most. For over 90% of the girls who dance at strip clubs, they were victims of sexual abuse while under the age of 18 and most feel significant shame in their job. They range in age from 14-65. They are really blessed to receive a bag with mittens, snacks, nail polish and other 'little items' on the holiday. If you think it stinks to work Christmas as a nurse or police officer, imagine how much it would stink to go and strip! It was cool to think that we could help make their holiday a little brighter.
In addition to the goodies, I made a card and all of the ladies in my group signed it with words of encouragement. I had some fun trying to make an extra special card for this one.
So do you want to see my card and the pile of gift bags we collected? Of course you do...
Since our bible study is called 'Joy' I thought using this stamp set and die cut out from stampin up with the words Joy was perfect.
The bags below were filled with 'pre-approved' items for the ladies. I guess the owners of the clubs are very controlling about what their girls are allowed to receive as gifts. Each bag was packed full of items on the approved list.
It was a really heart-warming night. One last thing to leave you with. Imagine if you and Jesus were texting. This time of year, it might go something like this.
Thanks for visiting today. Have a great day.